Chalk given voice through bubbles
France’s northernmost winegrowing region is so synonymous with a style of wine that one can easily lose sight of its multitudinous terroirs. Champagne’s vineyards encompass relatively steep slopes rife with chalk which provides ideal drainage and humidity for the vines to thrive, and its hierarchy includes over 300 communes, some of which are classified as premier cru (38 communes) or grand cru (17 communes). Three main varieties are planted here: Chardonnay, which expresses itself most powerfully on the east-facing slopes of the Côte des Blancs, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, the latter two of which thrive in the Montagne de Reims—the high hills between Reims and Épernay—and the Vallée de la Marne. In recent years, the historically underappreciated Aube sub-region, in Champagne’s southern stretches, has seen a new generation of quality-minded growers coaxing phenomenal wines from its Kimmeridgian soils. While large négociant houses still dominate the region’s vinous output, we at Rosenthal have always proudly worked with small growers producing their own wines entirely from their own vineyards.