Champagne and their famous houses
Champagne wine is a product made from grapes grown in the Champagne region of northeastern France.
The grapes used are very specific: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. If you don’t know how a champagne wine is made, I invite you to read my article: the secrets of making a champagne wine according to the Champagne method.
It is important to know that champagne belongs to the category of sparkling wines and is strictly regulated by the Comité Champagne, a sort of guardian and policeman of the appellation. Several countries can produce sparkling wines similar to champagne, but none of them has the right to use the word Champagne!
If all champagnes are sparkling wines, not all sparkling wines are Champagnes! The appellation “Champagne” is exclusively reserved for wines from the Champagne region. Indeed, from the grapes to the labeling of the finished bottles for shipment, producers are not allowed to do anything outside the geographical area of Champagne. If you are traveling by car to the Champagne region, it will not have escaped your attention that customs agents are often on the road to check the contents of vehicles.
The great champagne houses
In France, there are a total of 360 champagne houses, I will mention some of the most interesting ones.
This is the oldest Champagne house, founded in 1729 by Nicolas Ruinart in Reims. The historic cellars of this house are known as Les Crayères and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The chardonnay grape is the signature of the Ruinart house. Their grapes are mainly from the Côte des Blancs and the Montagne de Reims.
● Jacques Selosse:
It was founded by Anselme Selosse in 1964 and has been run by his son, Guillaume Selosse, since 2012. Their estate is located in Avize and covers more than 8 hectares including more than 70,000 vines of Chardonnay and 9,500 vines of Pinot Noir.
Founded in 1829 in Aÿ by Athanase de Villermont, Jacques Joseph Bollinger and Paul Renaudin. This house sells more than two million bottles a year and has built its reputation on its iconic grand cru grapes such as Pinot Noir.
Founded by Joseph Krug in 1843, this house offers only prestige vintages and has made the choice to create a limited number of bottles in order to preserve the exceptional quality of their Champagnes.
● Dom Pérignon:
Created in 1921 as a tribute to the inventor of Champagne. It was in 1921 that the first cuvée was elaborated but it was not marketed until 1935. Currently, the luxury goods group LVMH is the owner of this house.
● Grande Charte :
This house is the only new one created in the 21st century, it stands out because it produces only certified organic prestige vintages, accessible only by individual allocation or on small private sales periods each year.
I invite you to discover my article: What are the greatest champagne wines? (direction on the article when it will be online)
The champagne market in 2020
And to finish, I will give you a little summary of the champagne market in 2020.
The harvest is estimated at 301 million bottles and the turnover at 4.2 billion euros.
There are a total of 360 champagne houses with 16,200 winemakers spread over 33,787 hectares: the Marne alone has a total of 23,990 hectares, the Aube and Haute-Marne have a total of 7,231 hectares and the Aisne and Seine-et-Marne a total of 2,556 hectares.