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Home Wine Regions French Wine Regions Overview French Wine Regions - Champagne

French Wine Regions - Champagne

Champagne is a sparkling wine that gets its name from one of the premier wine growing regions of the world. With a cool growing climate, champagne offers some unique types of French vineyards with short growing seasons.

This region is located near Belgium, north of Paris. More than 70,000 acres of vineyard land are located here. Soils resembling chalk help to provide just the right amounts of water and aeration to the vineyards' root systems. At the same time, this chalk redirects sunlight underneath the vines for additional growing energy and warmth. However, this type of soil does require some regular fertilization.

Extreme heat is rarely a problem for vineyards in the Champagne wine growing region. There is just enough warmth here to prevent frost damage and to allow the grapes to ripen during the growing season.

This weather tends to be ideal for growing Pinot Noir. And, of course, the world's finest champagne comes from these Pinot Noir vineyards.

Down in the deeper areas, such as those along the River Marne, face southward in a low valley. For this reason these vineyards tend to do better producing Pinot Meunier. Whether the soil is more chalky, Chardonnay is also a popular yield.

In more recent years the types of crops grown in the Champagne wine growing region have been expanded. Nowadays, for example, Côte de Sézanne is very popular. This new crop has increased in popularity as growers recognized the unique ability of this type of grapes to flourish in southern locations.

Epernay lies to the north of the very popular Aube growing area at the southernmost portion of the Champagne wine growing region. This is the one part of the region that gets relatively dynamic weather. But this region is not so popular among wine enthusiasts as it is among the wineries that use it to make champagne blends from the other grapes of the Champagne wine growing region.

One way in which champagne differs from most other wines is that it is thought to be best when made of a blend of different high quality wine grape types. Typically a champagne will be produced from the combination of three different types of wine grapes.

Overall, Pinot Meunier is the grape you'll see grown the most as you travel throughout the Champagne wine growing region. It makes up well over 1/3 of the grapes grown in the area. It is often thought of as the base ingredient for a good champagne. Nearly a third of the region also produces Pinot Noir, which is credited with giving champagne its longevity. Chardonnay is the other main grape crop here that is often added to champagnes in order to lighten them.