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The Wine Of Champagne

Map of Champagne
              

The Wine Region Of Champagne

     Champagne is associated with celabration. It is famous all over the world and often copied. Perhaps the Kings of France, blessed at the cathedral in Reims contributed to this legend.
     Champagne is a brand, held by about a 100 champagne negotiating houses (66%). These buy the grapes from the grape farms. These houses participate in the world wide celebrity of this wine. However, about 5000 grape farmers market their own production production, mostly in France. The remaining 10% is held by coperatives. Amoung these main wine dealer houses, 4 of them represent 2/3 of the turnover.

The 'appellation’ Champagne

     The wines of Champagne  (33344 ha) have only one appellation ; that is Champagne.  However there are certain specials "Premiers crus" (5620 ha) and "Grands crus" (4450 ha). These specials indicate that the grapes from the commune are bought on a basis at  90% of the maximum price or even 100%. These are high quality, “haut de gamme”.
     It must also be noted that the region also produces good reds, rosé and whites, with the appellation AOC Coteaux Champenois. One example is the Bouzy red.

The different grapes types of Champagne

     The champagne wines use 3 different grape types:  Pinot Noir (39%), Pinot Meunier (32%) and  Chardonnay (29%). But there is also some, Pinot Blanc, 'Arbanne and Petit Meslier to a certain degree.
     Pinot Noir contributes to the power and structure of the Champagne. It gives the hint of red berry taste (cherries, blackcurrents and raspberries) and a winey character appreciated by amateurs. Pinot Meunier gives the souppleness, volume with more intense notes of fruit. This grape type is more resistant, easier to work with, needs less sunshine, and it is well adapted to this northern zone.
     Chardonnay provides delicacy, freshness and floral flavours to the Champagne. It must be handless with care to avoid oxidation during the elaboration of Champange. Champagnes elaborated using only chardonnay grapes are called « Blanc de blanc »
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