Champagne grape varieties
The choice of plantings in Champagne is based on compatibility with the special nature of the local terroir. The vineyard today is predominantly planted to the black Pinot Noir and Meunier and the white Chardonnay. (Other approved varietals are the white Arbane, Petit Meslier, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris – together less than 0.3% of plantings).
The pinot noir
The pinot noir accounts for 38% of planting.
It is the predominant grape variety on the Montagne de Reims and the Côte des Bar where the cool, chalky terrain suit it perfectly. It is the Pinot Noir that adds backbone and body to the blend, producing wines with distinctive aromas of red berries and good structure.
The meunier accounts for 32% of planting.
This robust grape variety shows better cold-weather resistance than the pinot noir and is particularly well suited to the more argillaceous soils of the Marne Valley. The meunier adds roundness to the blend, producing supple, fruity wines that tend to age more quickly than wines made with the other two varieties.
Le chardonnay accounts for 30% of plantings.
The chardonnay accounts for 30% of plantings. The chardonnay is king on the Côte des Blancs, yielding delicately fragrant wines with characteristic notes of flowers, citrus and sometimes minerals. Being slower to develop than the other two varieties, chardonnay produces wines that are built to age.
The vineyard management strategy in Champagne has been developed in accordance with vine morphology and natural environmental constraints. It covers every aspect of vine maintenance, including vine selection, planting density, grafting and pruning.