Champagne

In northern edges of France, this is where the most prominent sparkling wine is located.

1. The Land

The Champagne region is located in the north of France. This land of undulating slopes has a cold climate and a mean annual temperature of 10 °C which makes ripening a challenge. The region is split into five districts - Aube, Côte des Blancs, Côte de Sézanne, Montagne de Reims, and Vallée de la Marne.

2. The Soil

The soil is mainly made up of chalk, marl and limestone. This comes in the form of belemnite and micraster marl (older cretaceous period). The Aube has predominately clay soils.

3. The Produce

Besides know for its sparkling wines made from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Meunier grapes, the region produces still wines under the label Coteaux Champenois. There is also a rosé wine called Rosé des Riceys made from Pinot Noir. Marc de Champagne is an eau de vie made from the remains of the Champagne grape pressings. The region is known for its Brie cheese.

Did you know?

• The name Champagne is reserved exclusively for sparkling wines from the Champagne region. Wines made in the Champagne style cannot be called Champagne but it can be called champagne method sparkling wine.
• Champagne was King Louis XIV’s favourite drink. He was encouraged by his doctor to drink it with every meal for health benefits.
• The pressure in a bottle of Champagne is 90 pounds per square inch, or about three times that in an automobile tire. The punt, or indentation in the bottom of a Champagne bottle promotes even distribution of pressure that builds up during the second fermentation. Early Champagne bottles without punts frequently exploded from the pressure.
• Famous Champagne scientist, Liger-Belair calculated that there is approximately one million bubbles that is likely to form in a flute of Champagne.
• During the 19th Century, Champagne was made sweet. In 1846, the Champagne house Perrier-Jouët introduced Champagne without any added sugar. This is the style that we see today.