Grape varieties

A careful selection for the best compatibility with the diversity of the terroir

The Champagne grape varieties have unique characteristics which are expressed differently depending on the terroir

Clusters treated with the utmost care

Link between a terroir and a time-honoured production method

Champagne is a blended wine. This means that several grape varieties can be used to make it, bringing their own personal touch to the mix. 

The most commonly used varieties in the designation are Chardonnay, Pinot noir and Meunier.

Traditional planting practices up until the late 19th century favoured a wide mix of vines. But it was at this point that a collective drive emerged to improve the quality of Champagne wines, particularly through research aimed at carefully identifying the premium-quality cultivars. 

Three main grape varieties were chosen. These offer a good balance of sugar and acidity to complement the effervescence, a rich, subtle taste and good effervescent potential.

"Our grape varieties are carefully selected based on their suitability to the changing climate and taste expectations of the Champagne designation."

 The Champagne grape varieties: three main grape varieties  The Champagne grape varieties: three main grape varieties

The three main grape varieties

Pinot noir

Pinot noir accounts for 38% of the area under vine in Champagne. It is the dominant grape in Montagne de Reims and Côte des Bar. It is called "Précoce" as it ripens early. It thrives on cool, chalky soil. 
It endows Champagne wines with body, punch and structure.
Wines made with Pinot noir have distinctive aromas of red fruits and flowers (rose, violet).

The three main grape varieties

Chardonnay

Chardonnay accounts for 31% of the area under vine. It is the star grape variety in Côte des Blancs. This is a robust, early ripening varietal which is particularly well-suited to terroirs which lie on an outcrop of chalk, such as is found in Côte des Blancs. It brings a wonderful freshness to Champagne.
Chardonnay yields delicately fragrant wines with floral, citrus and sometimes mineral notes. It is an ideal grape for producing wines that age well.

The three main grape varieties

Meunier 

Meunier accounts for 31% of plantings in Champagne. This hardy varietal is less susceptible to frost than the other two as its bud burst happens later. It is therefore compatible with soils that contain more clay, such as in the Marne Valley, and with harsher climatic conditions. It gets its name (which means flour miller) from the powdery white appearance of its leaves and buds at the start of vegetation.
It adds roundness to Champagne wines. 
It produces supple, fruity wines with distinctive aromas of yellow fruits which tend to age more quickly than wines made from the other two grape varieties.

raisins noirs

Champagne culture

Black grapes… For white Champagne wines?

Most Champagnes are white… And yet, only one of the main grape varieties from which they are made is actually white. This is not as surprising as you might think, for even when the Champagne grape is black-skinned, its juice is always white. The juice takes on a darker colour when the black-skinned grapes are left to macerate in it. 

... What about rosé Champagnes?

Rosé Champagnes are made using the same grape varieties as white Champagnes. Their colour is obtained through one of two methods: So-called "macerated" rosé Champagnes are made by leaving the musts with the skin of the grapes to macerate and colour the juice. So-called "blended" rosé Champagnes are made by adding a still red Champagne wine to base white wines (so before the second fermentation stage). 

How Champagne is made

Strictly defined rules for a guarantee of excellence

Vine plantings are subject to strict regulations not only to protect the Champagne landscape but also, and above all, to guarantee the quality of Champagne wines.

The grubbing-up and replanting of vines (or the planting of new plots) must be notified to the authorities, and Champagne AOC wines may only be produced from the fruit of third-leaf vines (two years after planting). 

The vineyards

Explore the Champagne vineyards

Spread across different wine-growing sub-regions, the Champagne production area benefits from its richly varied landscapes.

The Champagne region