Champagne and its regions

At some point if you want to gain more understanding of grower Champagne, you are going to have to get to grips with the Champagne-Region. Not an easy feat, as the region is massive and spread out. 

For me Peter Leim's book Champagne is indispensable , if you want to really get a good understanding.

Leim divides Champagne into 7 regions.

1 Côte de Blanc

2 Montagne de Reims

3 Grand Vallée

4 Vallée de la Marne

5 Coteaux Sud d'Epernay

6 Côteaux du Morin, Côte de Sézanne and Montegueux

7 Côte de Bar or as the French call the Aube region.

A simpler and more traditional breakdown would be into four region, this however is a bit superficial.

1 Côte de bar

2 Montagne de Reims

3 Vallée de la Marne

4 Côte de Bar 

Here the  Coteaux du Morin and the Côte de Sézanne are assigned to the Côte de Blancs, the Grand Vallée and the Coteaux Sud d'Epernay to the Vallée de la Marne and Montegueux to the Côte de Bar. 

Without going into too much detail, the Côte de Blanc is characterised by chalk and explains the dominance of Chardonnay. The Montagne de Reims is almost horseshoe shaped and has a wide variety of villages with completely different expositions and soil compositions so it is very difficult to say anything general here. The Grand Vallée, which includes Ay, is a combination of hills and water, the river Marne. Peter Leim aptly calls it the "vineyards of the river". The Valle de Marne, east of Epernay, is complicated; here, too, the river dominates but the valley is narrower than in the Grande Vallée creating a different climate where fog plays a larger role.

Sezanne, Vitry and Montegeueux are small yet very interesting due to their unique soil compisitions and worth exploring-

The Côte de Bars or Aube as the french call the region, in the south is a place where anything goes. Closer to Burgundy than the traditional Champagne regions to the north, Burgundy has greatly influenced champagne making in this region. The producers are less constrained by traditions are prepared to experiment.