The rising popularity of the Coteaux Champenois

Mar 23, 2021 • 4 mins
Team Grappers

Our lovely Champagne region holds many mysteries and is also home to some lesser-known still wines, among which are the Coteaux Champenois.

Still wines, from the Champagne region? Well, yes. Is it a niche market? Not for much longer!
The Champagne region boasts not one but three AOCs. As well as for its champagne, it has two AOCs for its still wines: Rosé-des-Riceys and the Coteaux Champenois.

We took a closer look at the latter whose popularity is currently on the rise!

What are the Coteaux Champenois?

Coteaux Champenois are wines produced in Champagne, in the same geographical area as the champagnes but, unlike their bubbly counterparts, they have the particularity of being non-sparkling. They are available as red, white and even rosé wines.
Some wine producers like to add the name of their village to the appellation, the best known being Bouzy, Aÿ, Ambonnay, Cumières and Vertus.

Their origins go back several centuries to before the creation of champagne as a sparkling wine. People only became infatuated by the region’s famous sparkling wine from the 15th century onwards and this led to a drop in the demand for the Coteaux wines.

Recent history? Who's doing them?

The official appellation was granted in 1974. Before that, these wines had been known as VNC for "vins natures de Champagne". At that time, their production exceeded one million bottles. By 2000, the production of Coteaux Champenois had dropped to a mere 235,000 bottles, very small beer compared to the 325 million bottles of champagne being produced, and this was the last year the Coteaux Champenois were included in the CIVC census.

Having been ignored for so long, with all the attention being turned on champagne, the Coteaux Champenois are today only produced in small quantities mainly by independent producers and one or two Champagne Houses. The really good ones have become few and far between and are now highly sought after... And this demand is growing.

So, are these still wines set to make a real comeback?

The Bollinger House has long been producing its "La Côte aux Enfants" red, only in the best years. This wine is named after the lieu-dit, a Bollinger monopoly, from which it hails. Louis Roederer has recently announced the launch of two white and red Coteaux Champenois, named "Camille" in homage to the great-grandmother of Roederer's general manager. So, with the support of both the independent producers and the Champagne Houses, this could be the start of a real comeback for the Coteaux Champenois.

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