The best Champagnes

A very long time ago the North of France housed an inner sea. Evidence of this sea and its seabed can be found in the soil of most of this area, where remains of shellfish and fossils are easily tracked. A high concentration of chalk is the result and forms the character of the region we now call Champagne. Because of the chalk, the soil is very permeable to water, so rainwater is easily dissipated and warmth of the sun during the day is released at night. A calcareous subsoil (often chalk-based), absorbs heat and facilitates vine drainage, promoting the balance of the grapes and creating vast underground caves, perfect for ripening wines.

Champagne, however, is not Burgundy. Its climate is not as tolerant, nor is its soil as diverse. Campagne’s chalky soils and unique climate create the perfect conditions for crafting its renowned sparkling wine. Champagne's excellence is determined by the combination of grape excellence and winemaker expertise.

Champagne is a white wine. However, the wines if made from mostly blue grapes: pinot noir en pinot meunier. Chardonnay is also used. A Champagne made from 100% Chardonnay grapes is called Blanc de Blancs, a Champagne made from 100% blue grapes is called Blanc de Noirs. The latter is quite rare.

Some of the best Champagnes come from domaines like Selosse, Krug, Bollinger, Veuve Clicquot, Armand de Brignac, Salon, Roederer, Moet et Chandon

Suppliers in Champagne

Adrien Renoir  |  Agrapart  |  Alexandre Lamblot  |  Alfred Gratien  |  Amaury Beaufort  |  Antoine Bouvet  |  Armand de Brignac  |  Aubry  |  Aurelien Lurquin  |  Aurore Casanova  |  Ayala  |  Barons de Rothschild  |  Benoit Dehu  |  Benoit Dinvaut  |  Benoit Lahaye  |  Bereche  |  Billecart Salmon  |  Binet  |  Boerl & Kroff  |  Bollinger  |  Brigitte Beaufort  |  Cazals  |  Cedric Bouchard  |  Charles Heidsieck  |  Clement Perseval  |  Coessens  |  David Leclapart  |  De Saint Gall  |  De Venoge  |  Delamotte  |  Deutz  |  Dhondt-Grellet  |  Diebolt-Vallois  |  Dom Perignon  |  Domaine de Bichery  |  Domaine Lenoble  |  Domaine Leon  |  Dominique Foureur  |  Doyard  |  Duval-Leroy  |  Egly-Ouriet  |  Emilien Feneuil  |  Emmanuel Brochet  |  Fleur de Miraval  |  Francis Boulard  |  Franck Bonville  |  Frederic Savart  |  Geoffroy  |  George Remy  |  Georges Laval  |  Gosset  |  Grumier  |  Guiborat  |  Guillaume Selosse  |  Hebrart  |  Heidsieck and Monopole  |  Helene Beaugrand  |  Henri Giraud  |  Henriot  |  Hostomme P.  |  Hoxxoh  |  Jacquesson  |  Jerome Prevost  |  Jestin  |  Krug  |  Lanson  |  Larmandier-Bernier  |  Laurent Perrier  |  Leclerc Briant  |  Louis Dubosquet  |  Louis Roederer  |  Louis Roederer et Philippe Starck  |  Louise Brison  |  Marie Courtin  |  Marie Noelle Ledru  |  Michel Gonet  |  Moet Chandon  |  Mumm  |  Nicolas Feuillatte  |  Paul Goerg  |  Perrier Jouet  |  Petit & Bajan  |  Philippe Glavier  |  Philippe Gonet  |  Philipponnat  |  Pierre Gerbais  |  Pierre Paillard  |  Pierre Peters  |  Piper Heidsieck  |  Pol Roger  |  Pommery  |  Prieur  |  Robert Charlemagne  |  Robert Moncuit  |  Ruinart  |  Saint-Chamant  |  Salon  |  Seleque  |  Selosse  |  Stephane Coquillette  |  Taittinger  |  Telmont  |  Thomas Perseval  |  Ulysse Collin  |  Vauversin  |  Veuve Clicquot  |  Veuve Doussot  |  Vouette et Sorbee  |  Vranken  |  Yann Alexandre
All wines in Champagne

The history of Champagne

Beginning in the first century, Romans farmed grapes in ancient Gaul (today Champagne). Champagne was being marketed to traders in Spain, England, and Italy by the thirteenth century. Fermentation in Champagne was halted by the cold winters. The wine began to bubble as it warmed. Bottles would occasionally burst due to bubbles, thus gaining the moniker "the devil’s wine." Despite its flaws, French royalty started to favour sparkling Champagne in the late 17th century.

Champagne has some remarkable stories about winemaking and winemakers, which can be read in for example the history of the blog of Dom Perignon.

The climate and terroir of Champagne

Champagne's unique climate offers both challenges and advantages for grape growing. The challenging weather conditions are due to its northern location. Champagne's climate combines the continental and the oceanic influences. While oceanic factors provide constant rainfall and cooler temperatures ideal for grape growth, severe winter frosts and sporadic summer hailstorms remain a constant threat. The Vosges Mountains forms a protective barrier within the area play a crucial role in stabilizing temperatures and maintaining soil moisture, contributing to the perfect acidity of the grapes essential for sparkling wine production.

The grapes of Champagne

Champagne is obviously renowned for the production of champagne. Champagne typically involves a mix of three grape varieties, which are Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Noir. These are blended to create different styles. Blanc de Blancs is exclusively made of Chardonnay. These wines have remarkable age potential. Blanc de Noirs includes Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Meunier, exclusively crafted from blue grapes. This wine is quite rare and is a specialty of the Aube region.

The classifications of Champagne

The Champagne area is classified with the AOC appellation and encompasses the whole territory of Champagne. Several villages in Champagne have ''Grand Cru Appellation d'Origine Controlée'' (AOC) controlled designation of origin. The Grand Cru commune of Bouzy owes its reputation mainly to Pinot Noir. There are also dozens of villages classified as Premier Cru, in which the grapes listed on the label come exclusively from these villages.
In the realm of great French wines, Champagne production involves seven crucial processes: manual grape harvesting, specific pressing techniques, blending, second fermentation in bottle, straining, disgorging, dosing, and minimum aging time.

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