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Champagne Grapes

You probably already know about the three main grapes grown in the Champagne region… Pinot noir, Pinot meunier (red grapes and white juice) and Chardonnay (white grape and white juice).

Chardonnay accounts for about 30% of the vineyards, Pinot noir for about 38% and Pinot meunier for about 32%.

Pinot noir or Pinot is therefore the most widespread grape variety in Champagne. You will find it mostly, but not exclusively, in the region of the Montagne de Reims, Côte des Bar and Aube. It gives body to the wine and enhances the red fruits aromas.

Pinot Meunier or Meunier will be found mostly in the Marne Valley but not exclusively again, it is the most resistant grape to heat and cold. It develops aromas quicker than the other two grapes and gives expressive fruit aromas. It is often said to be a bridge between Chardonnay and Pinot noir.

Chardonnay is probably the most elegant grapes in Champagne and comes mainly from the Côte des blancs, around Epernay. It is delicate and refined and develops subtle floral aromas, gives freshness to the wine and is favored for potential aged blends.

Those three grapes nonetheless do cover only about 99.5% of the vineyards grown in Champagne as 4 forgotten grapes are still grown and allowed by the AOC.

Pinot blanc and Pinot gris, probably coming from Burgundy, and mutations of Pinot noir; Petit Meslier, also a white grape and white juice, is actually an ‘extension’ of a Chardonnay grape and was pretty largely planted in the past; and finally Arbanne, a white grape, almost extinct but sill planted in the south part of the Champagne region.

All seven grapes are approved to be used for any blend in the region of Champagne as long of course that the grapes are planted in Champagne!

 

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The Noble Grapes

Ever heard about the noble grapes…?

 

How different is a noble grape from any other grape?

Noble grapes are believed to keep their own specificities wherever they are planted while delivering wines of high quality again wherever they are planted.

This idea of ‘noble grapes’ is more an historical reference as to which grapes were in the past delivering high quality wines, as nowadays many more grapes are considered ‘noble’ or outstanding cépages, hybrid or not, and more importantly not only grapes from the old world or specifically grown in France.

Nonetheless, the classical six (debate still open regarding a couple more) grapes were Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc and Riesling for the whites and Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot noir for the reds.

Check our availabilities for those Noble Grapes, mono cépage or blend, at The Vintage Wines Boutique!

Chardonnay

Riesling

Cabernet Sauvignon

Merlot

Pinot noir