La Champagne 2018

Bonjour!  We recently returned from our annual tour of La Champagne. We explored villages in the Côte des Bar, Côte des Blancs, Montagne de Reims, Grande Vallée, Vallée de la Marne and Montgueux regions, visiting the following 16 houses:

The Côte des Bar

We were based in Troyes (about 110km southwest of Epernay) for the first two and one half days. This city was the capital of the countship of Champagne in the 12th and 13th centuries and one of the most significant trading centers at that time.  This region has a unique soil of Kimmeridgian marl and is planted mostly with Pinot Noir.  The Cote des Bar’s recognition as a “champagne” producing region has been a difficult one. In the early 1900’s a series of governmental actions began to formalize the regulation of champagne production. The Aube department which contains the Cote des Bar was initially excluded from the the defined Champagne region and then, later,  considered for possible inclusion. This led to protests and then rioting followed by a recognition of the Aube as a “Champagne deuxieme zone.” This compromised status was abolished in 1927, making all regions of Champagne equally recognized.

The Côte des Blancs

This region of white chalk is just south of Epernay and is planted almost exclusively with Chardonnay for which it is renound.

Montagne de Reims

Located west and south of Reims, most of this region lies between the Vesle and the Marne rivers.  This large region is planted 41% Pinot Noir, 34% Pinot Meunier and 25% Chardonnay.

Grande Vallée

This region lies northeast of Epernay, mostly north of the Marne river with a weather tempering influence. It’s clay rich soils are planted  65% Pinot Noir, 19% Chardonnay and 16% Pinot Meunier.

Vallée de la Marne

The Marne river splits this region north/south creating micro climates and has varying soils.  It is planted 72% Pinot Meunier, 16% Pinot Noir and 12% Chardonnay.


This small region is Chalky hill is just northwest of Troyes.  It is planted 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir with favored south facing slopes.

Be sure to check out What’s Open for more information on the cuvées we tasted!

Start learning about Day One!