Exploring the Regions of Champagne

Introducing the Champagne sub-regions

Champagne has been synonymous with celebrations and festivities for centuries. From the first pop of the cork to the effervescent tingle of the bubbles, it is no wonder that people across the globe have come to love this luxury tipple. But did you know that Champagne has several sub-regions, each with their unique terroir and most common grape varietals? Join us as we introduce the areas to find the hidden gems of Champagne, beyond the glitz and glamour of the iconic names.

Montagne de Reims

First up is the Montagne de Reims, aptly named as it is located on a mountain of the same name. This sub-region is home to some of the most sought-after Champagne houses, including Krug and Bollinger. The soils here are chalky and the dominant grape varietal is Pinot Noir, giving the Champagne a bold and fruity flavor profile. The Montagne de Reims is also dotted with small villages, each with their own wineries and traditions. If you are a history buff, this sub-region has plenty to offer with its numerous World War I landmarks. To learn more about the Montagne de Reims terroir and typical characteristics, check out our detailed write up here.

Map of the five wine sub-regions of Champagne including Montagne de Reims, Valle de la Marne, Cote des Blancs, Cote de Sezanne, and Cote des Bars

Cote des Blancs

If you prefer your Champagne with a touch of elegance and finesse, the Cote des Blancs is where you should look. This sub-region is known for its chalky soil, which imparts a signature minerality to the Chardonnay grape varietal. The Champagne that comes from the Cote des Blancs is pale and delicate with a light flavor profile. Some of the most renowned Champagne houses such as Salon and Taittinger call this region their home. Learn more about the Cote des Blancs here.

Cote de Sezanne

Next up is the Cote de Sezanne. The Cote de Sezanne can be thought of as an extended section of the Cote des Blancs, with a similar climate and soil type. This region is known for its Chardonnay-based Champagnes which have an elegant yet structured flavor profile. The wines here are intense yet balanced with notes of citrus fruit and white flowers. This sub-region produces some complex Champagne blends and is worth exploring for its unique character. Typically the wines are not as age-worthy, and it’s an interesting area to explore a bit more off the beaten path.

Cote des Bar (also known as The Aube)

The Aube, also known as the Cote des Bar is another Champagne sub-region located in the southernmost part of the Champagne region. This sub-region is known for its sunny climate, which allows the Pinot Noir grape varietal to thrive. The terroir here is varied, with limestone-clay soil in some areas and chalky soil in others. The Champagne from the Aube is known for its richness and body, with notes of red fruit and spice. If you are looking for value for money, the Aube is where you should look. The Champagnes here offer great quality at an accessible price point – learn more about the Cote des Bar in our write-up here.

Valle de la Marne

Lastly, we have the Valle de la Marne, known for its lovely river valleys and rolling hills. The grape varietals in this sub-region are dominated by Pinot Meunier, which are known for their full-bodied and fruity flavors. The Valle de la Marne is situated at a lower altitude than the other sub-regions, which lends a warmer climate. This sub-region is home to many small growers that produce some of the most unique and artisanal Champagnes. If you are looking for an intimate experience, this sub-region should be on your to-do list.

Learn more about the Champagne regions

As you can see, Champagne has much more to offer beyond the big-name brands that we see at every party. Exploring the sub-regions of Champagne will allow you to discover hidden gems and unique flavor profiles that will take your Champagne experience to another level. So, next time you raise a glass of Champagne, remember the hard work and dedication of the growers and winemakers from these sub-regions that make it all possible. Cheers!

P.S. – If you are brushing up your champagne knowledge and also want to learn about some of the most well-known Champagne Houses, I recommend checking out this guide.