The Slopes of Champagne

When it comes to making the most of a difficult situation, talk to a winemaker - they do it all the time. Centuries ago, the monks making wine in the Champagne region, 90 minutes due East of Paris, realized their climate was too cold and unpredictable to consistently ripen their grapes. Their solution was to plant more kinds of grapes, figuring in any given year, at least one variety would ripen. Today, classic Champagne (only wines from the Champagne region may be called Champagne; others are imposters) is usually a blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and another red variety, pinot meunier. On the slopes of Champagne with soil rich in chalky limestone, these grapes produce the greatest sparkling wine in the world.


I've written extensively about the Champagne region and its wine in The Wine News magazine. Several of my articles can be found on the article archive page