Champagne Grapes

by Wendy VanHatten

Ready for the New Year? Is Champagne part of your celebration?

If so…here are some facts about the delicious bubbles from the wine region, an AOC zone, Champagne, France.

The three main grapes for Champagne are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. These three account for 99.7% of the wine region’s grapes. But, actually there are seven permitted varieties of grapes that can be grown in Champagne. The others are Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Petit Meslier, and Arbane. These four make up less the.3% of the plantings. Not much.

Chardonnay seems like an obvious grape as you often see many Blanc de Blancs Champagnes in wine shops and on menus. However, it’s the least planted of the three main grapes. Chardonnay covers 30% of the grapes. This is used for its delicate floral aromas and longer finish. Since it has a fairly slow aging process, the Chardonnay grape is perfect for wines you want to keep a longer time.

Pinot Noir is the most widespread grape of the three, covering 38% of the wine region. It likes cool, chalky soils so does well in the Reims Mountains and the Aube. Pinot Noir lends its richer flavors of red fruits to Champagne.

Pinot Meunier, or Meunier, covers 32% of the wine region. Meunier likes clay soils found in the Marne Valley. It’s more resistant than the other two, which makes it adapt more easily in hot or cold years. This one works well in blends.

Next time you open a bottle of Champagne, check to see what grapes are listed.






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