The party wine par excellence, Champagne is actually quite complex. Despite the unique ‘Champagne’ appellation, there are a great number of different champagnes. It can be a ‘blanc de blancs’ (made from Chardonnay), ‘blanc de noirs’ (made from Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, or both), a blend of the three grape varieties, one cru or several, white or rosé, vintage or not, and given dosages of varying proportions. Also, the Champagne region is comprised of three AOCs: Champagne, Coteaux-Champenois and Rosé-des-Riceys. One on each side of the Marne, Reims and Epernay share the role of the Champagne capital. Several areas make up the Champagne appellation: Montagne de Reims, Côte des Blancs, the Marne Grande Vallée and the two banks of the Marne valley, extended by Aisne and the Surmelin Valley. The Aube vineyards are found in the south-east of the appellation, separated by a zone of 75 vineless kilometres.
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General : The «bio» designation covers certified wines produced by biodynamic or organic methods, sustainably produced wines, and «environmentally friendly» wines that are not officially certified. These designations apply to recent vintages (the date of certification, if known, is specified in the estate description). See the blog article for more information on this designation.
Biodynamic : The «biodynamic» designation is used for all estates certified as using biodynamic methods, as verified by one of the two official bodies, Demeter or Biodyvin. All wines produced by biodynamic methods are also certified as organic. This designation applies to recent vintages.
Organic : The «organic» designation covers all estates certified as using organic methods, as verified by one of the bodies approved by the Ministry of Agriculture, such as Ecocert. This designation applies to recent vintages.
Sustainable : The «sustainable» designation covers all estates certified as using integrated or High Environmental Value (level 3 Environmental Certification) techniques. This designation applies to recent vintages.
Evironmentally friendly : The «environmentally friendly» designation refers to estates practising environmentally friendly wine-growing techniques, but that have not opted for certification or who are still in the process of converting to organic agriculture or biodynamics. These estates may have adopted biodynamic principles (non-certified) or simply no longer use chemical products. This designation applies to recent vintages.
Natural : Wines which are produced without any added sulfur (or almost any) and with no other inputs. However, given that there is no official body to issue the natural wine label, it is based on winemakers’ statements. This designation applies to recent vintages.