Champagne is a symbol of joy and celebration and without doubt one of my favourite wine regions in the world!
When I select Champagne for wine menus, I always think about the style that I would like to taste, from fresher and elegant Blanc de Blancs from 100% Chardonnay to a richer and structured style such as a Blancs de Noirs of 100% Pinot Noir or a true classic of the region, a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. One of my favourite vintages so far is 2008, showcasing finesse and elegance, beautifully balanced with a long ageing potential, alongside my other picks 2002 and 2012.
The Champagne region has a terroir that is predominant chalk, the same soil of the famous excavated cellars called ‘Crayere’. The climate is predominantly cool as the region is close enough to the sea to share its Atlantic climate and its continental tendencies assists the ripening of the grapes even though it is far from equator.
Champagne has some of the most expensive vineyards in the world, but only 10% belong to the large exporting houses responsible for the worldwide reputation of Champagne.There are also more and more single growers each year which has almost doubled since 2010. These single growers are making and selling wine produced from their own grapes, rather than selling grapes to the Champagne ‘houses’ for their blends.
Champagne has three main regions North to South starting with Montagne de Reims with its nine Grand Cru villages. which include the prestigious villages of Bouzy, Verzy and Verzenay; the Vallee de la Marne region in the centre with its two Grand Cru Villages Ay and Tour Sur Marne; and the elegant Côte des Blancs region with its six Grand Cru including the highly respected Cramant, Avize and le Mesnil sur Oger, extending towards the south with Côte des Sezanne and Côte des Bars.
There are 3 main grapes that are used to produce Champagne: Chardonnay (Côte des Blancs), Pinot Noir (Montagne de Reims) and Pinot Meunier (Vale de Marne). The first fermentation produces a base wine up to 10% of alcohol, later with the addition of sugar, yeast, and a mixture of wine, the second fermentation takes place in the bottle raising alcohol to 12% and giving off carbon dioxide that remain dissolved in the wine. The main difference between Champagne brands is the method of making the dry base wine, which it’s called Cuvee. Another important factor is the amount of time that the producers leave the wine on lees during the second fermentation in the bottle – the longer the better.
At The Charles Grand Brasserie, we have developed a selective list of Champagnes from many different producers of Champagne including the most renowned houses in the world, to the rarest single growers. We can’t wait to share our passion for this region and make every guests experience memorable, à votre santé!