Cramant, Champagne: The Village, the Vineyards, & Blanc De Blancs Style

cramant champagne featured photo

A grand cru crown jewel. Cramant is one of the finest and most prestigious villages in the Champagne region of France. It’s home to premium Chardonnay-dominated vineyards.

The village or commune of Cramant, Champagne produces fruit that makes some of our favorite Blanc de Blancs, the purest expression of the white grape variety.

That said, Cramant village terroir is complex. What makes its sun-drenched slopes the perfect home for Chardonnay vines? You should first know a bit more about the area’s geology and how it imparts the distinct minerality of champagnes.

Below, we’ll explore Cramant, the vineyards, and its top French wine producers.

Where Is Cramant Champagne Village?

Cramant is situated southeast of Épernay, in the chalky white slopes of Côte des Blancs, a subregion of Champagne. The village spans 1,327 acres with surrounding vineyards covering 867.1 acres of its total land area.

Map of Cramant, Champagne Village

Map of Cramant, Champagne Village

As you can see on the maps by Steve De Long and Charles Curtis MW, Cramant is nestled in the middle of a slope (steepness). In geological terms, the Côte des Blancs is a ‘cuesta,’ which is a hill that formed when softer sedimentary rock is covered by a harder layer of rock called ‘capstone’.

When the soft sedimentary rock erodes due to geological activities, a ‘côte’ or a slope forms on one side of the hill, where the capstone has been fractured.

The vineyards surround the village, however, the first section of vines is mostly on the west of D10 road. Cramant’s north eastern-facing slopes dominate the area. If you go up the northern part (south of the Butte de Saran), you’ll find some vineyards such as Bourons Leroy and Bourons du Midi with southwest to southeast-facing slopes.

The eastern part near the southern outskirts of Oiry is mostly flat vineyards such as Chemin de Châlons. Almost all of the grapes grown there are Chardonnay.

The Vineyards

In the Champagne region, what the locals call a ‘Cru’ is actually a vineyard. Cramant is a Grand Cru village. It’s one of the region’s finest quality wine-growing areas (mostly Chardonnay), along with other villages Avize, Chouilly, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Oger, and Oiry.

In the 8,309-acre Côte des Blancs, Chardonnay takes the lion’s share. It covers 97.22% of the vineyard, with Pinot Noir covering only 1.99% and Pinot Meunier at 0.75%. The grand cru champagne village of Cramant is 867.1 acres, where 99.9% is Chardonnay and 0.1% is Pinot Meunier.

Single vineyards in Cramant include:

  • Bourron du Levant
  • Bourons du Midi
  • Bourons Leroy
  • Briquettes
  • Buissons
  • Chemin de Châlons
  • Clos du Mardu
  • Fond du Bateau
  • Gros Monts
  • Hautes Bauves
  • La Croix
  • Les Bourons
  • Les Buzons
  • Les Fourches du Midi
  • Les Gouttes
  • Les Moyens du Couchant

The well-drained slopes of Cramant Champagne provide ideal growing conditions for the predominantly Chardonnay grapes. With chalky soils and more clay, the grapes being harvested here produce unique wines that are more grounded in structure, body, bright acidity, and a more complex aromatic character.

All that being said, there are only a handful of Champagne Houses that put the Grand Cru label in their bottles. The AOC regulations require that the fruits come from them if they want to use the Grand Cru designation. 

However, the villages in Côte des Blancs don’t produce a lot of yields and couldn’t keep up with the required volumes. So these Champagne Houses use other blends of grapes from other growths, giving the Champagnes favorable characteristics.

The Côte Des Blancs Style

It’s no secret that Chardonnay-dominated sparkling wines are some of the best. Côte Des Blancs champagne has reputation for being a lively bubbly with racy minerality and crisp acidity. These are the signature nuances of Blanc de Blancs that made them popular and loved by many champagne lovers all over the world.

Cramant, among the other grand crus villages in the Côte Des Blancs, produces slightly creamier champagnes. The sparkling wines it produces are not as hard as those of Avize and with more minerality than those in Chouilly.

The signature “Cramant-style” champagne is powerful. However, while Champagne Houses use Blanc de Blancs in their blends, many might expect they taste the same. Champagne producers can make sparkling wines by blending grapes from different Grands Crus.

Here are a few champagne blends that are exclusively sourced from different grand crus in Côte des Blancs:

Champagne Billecart-Salmon Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru

Champagne Billecart-Salmon Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru

This is a prestigious bottle containing a blend of the 4 grand crus: Cramant, Avize, Chouilly, and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. It’s synonymous with Champagne’s great Chardonnay. The blend is creamy, thanks to shades of fresh almonds and citron zest.

Champagne Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2011

Champagne Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2011

Here’s a vintage champagne with a blend of 6 grand crus: Cramant, Avize, Chouilly, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, and Oger. The pale yellow champagne has toasted mineral notes with hints of almond. 

Champagne Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs 2013

Champagne Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs 2013

Produced with blends of Chardonnay from the 6 grand crus: Cramant, Avize, Chouilly, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, and Oger, this vintage cuvée offers a balanced and rounded mouthfeel.

Some top producers also craft sparkling wines using blends from single vineyard sites in Cramant. If you’re interested, you may check out these champagnes:

Champagne Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque

Champagne Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque

This decorative bottle is another quintessential expression of Chardonnay. On the palate, it’s firm with a silken texture and a hint of white pepper.

Larmandier-Bernier Levant Grand Cru

Larmandier-Bernier Levant Grand Cru

This contains a blend of Chardonnay grapes picked on their own family vineyard, Bourron du Levant. This vintage cuvée is powerful and rich with minerality that reflects the great terroir of Cramant.

Diebolt-Vallois Fleur de Passion Brut Grand Cru

Diebolt-Vallois Fleur de Passion Brut Grand Cru

Vinified in oak barrels, the Fleur de Passion is “old-style” champagne and is long and intense on the palate. It embodies Cramant’s signature creamy structure.

Wrapping Up

Cramant is more than just a village with champagne growing on its hillsides. The Grand Cru champagne village is a testament to the artistry of wine production. Next time you toast to your favorite Blanc de Blancs, you can thank the time-honored terroirs in this village.

We hope you’ve found this post helpful. If you have more questions, let us know and we’ll be happy to help. Thanks for reading!