destination-the-terroir-of-champagne

Destination – the Terroir of Champagne

Nov 29, 2021 • 3 mins
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Assistante chef de projet

Hello and welcome on board Grappers380, we are heading off on a tour of the terroir of Champagne. Our flight is scheduled to fly over several areas in the region. Good weather is forecast for our trip with some turbulence if you overdo it on the champagne! We are now ready for takeoff, so please fasten your seatbelt!

This is your captain speaking…

Before we make our first stop, let’s take a look at some background to the Champagne region. Champagne wines are world famous – nothing new there - but do you know anything about their terroir?

Cultural note: the vineyards in Champagne were established around the time of Christ, but the Champagne AOC was only delimited as a geographical area in 1927.

Champagne benefits from a northern climate and dual climatic influences, namely oceanic and continental. This means that its weather conditions, subsoil and slopes form a unique terroir, that lends its distinctive character to the wines produced in the region.

Areas of turbulence

Please remain seated with your seatbelt fastened. We will be flying over an area of turbulence created by the three climates of the Champagne region.

If you remove your fleeced jacket, you’ll feel the cool breeze brought by the northern climate. In fact, Champagne lies at the very northernmost latitude used for winegrowing and this lends the wines their freshness and finesse.

Did you pack your brolly? Just as well, as Champagne is also under the combined influence of the oceanic and continental climates. So, what does that mean? Well, these

Flightpath

We have reached our first area of interest. We are heading towards the southern end of Épernay to explore the Côte des Blancs, which extends over some 15 kilometres. The soil in this terroir is essentially formed of limestone and its subsoil works like a heat and water reservoir. To our delight, the white Chardonnay grape really likes it here, hence the name “Côte des Blancs”. This is where the majority of Blancs de Blancs champagnes are produced. Thank you, Captain Obvious!

Let’s gain some more height and make a flying visit over the Montagne de Reims. As its name suggests, it is a small “mountain” between Reims and Épernay that is covered in forest as well as vineyards. This is a high-quality terroir with many Grands Crus and Premier Crus produced in the area. The soil on its hillsides is made up of clay, marl and limestone and this diversity gives the wine its typical characteristics. The preferred grape variety here is the Pinot Noir.

Let’s now turn and head in the direction of the Vallée de la Marne with vineyards planted on both its banks. The slopes are south facing on one side of the valley and north facing on the other. The vines grow in limestone soil as well as the terroir’s clay-marl soils. The sturdy Meunier grape has adapted best to the climate conditions found in the Vallée de la Marne.

Now on to our last area. A bit of turbulence as we cross the Côte des Bar, a region often hit by frost. The vines grow here in marl, limestone and clay soils and the terroir has a very specific climate – temperate oceanic and semi-continental. This is where the famous Rosé de Riceys is produced – a rosé that undergoes a unique winemaking process, resulting in a highly distinctive flavour. Definitely one to try!

As we will be landing very shortly, please make your way back to your seat and fasten your seatbelt. We hope you have enjoyed your flight and thank you for flying with Grappers Airlines!