Introducing the Champagne, France Wine Region

The Champagne wine region of France is famous for sparkling wines. So famous in fact that it's where sparkling wines got their namesake.
Champagne Wine Region
Champagne, France Wine Region

The Champagne wine region of France is famous for sparkling wines. So famous in fact that it’s where sparkling wines got their namesake.

Quick Facts:

  • People still debate who actually invented Champagne. Most in France claim it was created by a monk, but historians argue that its origins date much further back.
  • Champagne is a region located in North Eastern France, there is no actual town named Champagne.
  • The capital of Champagne became the location for crowning French kings during the 9th century. Champagne gained popularity as it was a drink used in celebrations.
  • Champagne contains fewer calories than its red and white wine counterparts.
  • Over 300 million bottles of champagne are produced annually

About the Champagne Region

The Champagne-Ardenne area consists of the Ardennes, the Aube, the Mane, and the Haute-Marne; each with a diversity of landscapes, forests, cultivated files, hills, and flowing rivers. According to France Bubbles Tours, the rivers were used for the transportation of goods and contributed to the development of the region. Along with its stunning landscapes, the region’s rich ground (comprising of limestone and chalk) helped the vine-growing industry thrive.

The region of Champagne is one of the coldest wine-growing temperatures in all of France. The average temperature in the area is only 11 degree Celsius, or about 52 degrees Fahrenheit. This cooler weahter allwos the grapes to have the perfect acidity needed for successful Champagne making.

Champagne Wine Classifications

In Champagne, there are four main classifications used in the wine industry that was historically used as pricing structures to determine the costs of each village. This system isn’t used for pricing anymore, but it does provide historical information about the villages and vineyards from where each wine comes from.

Crus – Site-Specific Champagne

Crus are classified as either “Grand Cru” or “Premier Cru.” There are seventeen Grand Crus of Champagne, each considered to be one of the best sites for growing Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. Montagne de Reims has as many as nine Grand Crus, making it a popular destination to visit. Wines in these regions can be made into vintage or non-vintage styles. A step down on the “Cru” scale is the Premier Cru classification, though some people prefer these wines over the superior classification. There are about 42 sites included in this classification.

The quality and taste of Cru wines can differ, so use these classifications as a curiosity point if you’re wondering where your grapes come from and what you can expect while sipping your wine.

Vintage and Non-Vintage

The vintage classifications of Champagne are referred to as “Millesime” Champagnes. Champagne wines in this classification are produced from a single vintage and are required to age for 36 months. It is common, however, to see them for sale after 5 or 10 years in the cellar. Aging increases flavors associated with fine Champagne, including toastier notes of marzipan, brioche, and nuts.

Non-Vintage Champagnes or “NV” Champagnes are produced with grapes from multiple harvests. Winemakers tend to do this to produce a more consistent, house-style wine year-round. Like vintage wines, non-vintage Champagnes are still required to age, but only for 15 months compared to 36.

Champagne Wine Types, Styles, and Grapes

There are three main grape varieties used in Champagne: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay. Pinot Noir makes up the highest percentage of the grapes planted in the region due to its ability to produce distinctive aromas in wines. Meunier has great cold-weather resistance, making it a great choice for this region of France. Meunier allows for more fruity wine and tends to age wines at a quicker rate than Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Chardonnay may be the least planted out of the top three, but it doesn’t fall too far behind. These grapes are popular for producing wines with flowery, citrusy, and mineral notes in the wine. Though they are slower to grow and produce, these grapes are perfect for wines designed to age.

Vintage

The style of Vintage Champagnes can vary depending on the wine producer. These Champagnes tend to have more aged and toastier flavors of nuts and baked fruits due to the required aging period of 36 months minimum.

Flavor profile: Apricot, White Cherry, Brioche, Marzipan, Smoke

Serving temperature: 7 degrees Celsius, 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Non-Vintage (NV) Champagnes

As previously mentioned, winemakers and cellar masters create signature house blends throughout the year by combining different wine blends from various vineyards and vintages. These wines are required to age for a minimum of 15 months.

Flavor profile: Quince, Pear, Citrusy Zest, Cheese Rind, Smoke

Blanc de Noirs

Blanc de Noirs, or “white of blacks” is a Champagne produced with only black/red grapes. These wines are made with a ccombination of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and tend to have a more golden hue with more fruitier aromas.

Flavor profile: White Cherry, Red Currant, Lemon Zest, Mushroom, Smoke

Blanc de Blancs

Blanc de Blancs, or “white of whites” is a Champagne produced with only white grapes. A majority of these whines are 100% Chardonnay, with a few exceptions including Arbane, Pinot Blanc, and petit Meslier.

Flavor profile: Yellow Apple, Lemon Curd, Honeydew Melon, Honeysuckle, Toast

Our favorite Champagne wine recommendations

For personalized recommendations of Champagne wine and more, get in touch with one of our fine wine experts.

750ml
Minimum order 1 bottle. No cancellations or refunds. ETA approx. months from buy date.
89
$51.00 48 Available
750ml
Available to ship within 3 business days of order date.
$50.00 10 In stock
750ml
Minimum order 1 bottle. No cancellations or refunds. ETA approx. months from buy date.
91
$61.00 12 Available
750ml
Available to ship within 3 business days of order date.
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$52.00 69 In stock
750ml
Minimum order 1 bottle. No cancellations or refunds. ETA approx. months from buy date.
95
$226.00 6 Available
750ml
Available to ship within 3 business days of order date.
$47.00 36 In stock

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