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The grapes in Champagne

An introduction to grape varieties in Champagne

Each region making wine with protected origin in France – and Europe – will specify which grape varietal can be used.

Grape of different styles of Champagne

Different grapes in Champagne:

 

  • Pinot Noir: Champagne’s most planted grape is a black grape quite spread worldwide (it is also Burgundy’s main grape, and a lot of it is grown in Oregon, California, New Zealand) that will give structure and a distinctive red fruits aromas to a wine. In Champagne, it is mostly grown in the Montagne de Reims and Côte des Bars sub-regions.

  • Meunier: This varietal is the 2nd most planted in the region and is also a black grape, very resistant to Champagne’s difficult climatic conditions. It is mostly found in the valley of the Marne sub-region and give supple and fruity wines. Outside Champagne, Meunier is very rare.

  • Chardonnay: The world’s most famous white grape (planted almost everywhere, from Burgundy to California, South-Africa) is Champagne’s 3rd most planted varietal and will make wine with delicate floral, citrusy and mineral notes that can age for very long time. It is the sole base of “blanc de blanc” champagnes. Most of the Chardonnay is planted in the Côte des Blancs (coast of the white grapes) sub-region and is highly prized by winemakers and champagne producers.

Did you know?

Most of the books or articles about Champagne will only evoque 3 grape varietals used to make the wine.
In the region, 7 different grapes are actually allowed! The 4 other grapes, Arbane, Petit Meslier, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris are very fragile and are called the “forgotten grapes” as they represent less than 0,3% of the plantings… Some small Champagne growers such as Champagne Drappier, Champagne Fleury, Champagne Laherte or Champagne Tarlant, created special cuvees, made only with those rare varietals.

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