Description 1 of 2
The five major districts of Champagne are: Montagne de Reims (mostly Pinot Noir), Cote des Blancs (Chardonnay), Aube (Pinot Noir), Valee de la Marne (Pinot Meunier), and Cote de Sezanne (Chardonnay).
The region is dominated by Champagne houses, which purchase most of their grapes from growers and blend their wines according to a house style. Their greatest strengths are consistency and the ability to rely on a variety of older vintages. Some growers also make their own wines. They do not have the resources of the large houses, but are often able to achieve more distinctive expressions of terroir. Increased interest in grower Champagne has encouraged some Champagne houses to release single-vineyard wines.
Non-vintage Champagne must be aged for a minimum of 15 months. Vintage Champagne is made only in good years. It must be aged for a minimum of three years. Rose Champagne is unlike most rose in that it is usually made by blending red and white base wines.
Description 2 of 2
Region known for Champagne production. Picturesque rolling hills and vineyards. 90 minutes from Paris, making it an easy day trip or overnight from Paris. Historical gothic cathedral where France's kings were crowned Champagne, the very symbol of sophistication, graceful living and celebration, is produced nowhere else in the world. All champagnes are made within a few miles of each other outside Reims and Epernay, near the Abbey of Saint-Pierre where the legendary Benedictine monk, Dom Pérignon, supposedly invented the bubbly by accident in the early 18th Century (some would say by divine inspiration). Just as still wines have different characteristics and tastes, so do champagnes, and the great houses of Mumm, Piper-Heidsieck, Taittinger, Veuve Clicquot and Moët & Chandon, among more than 100 others, want to prove this with guided tours (in English) of their cellars and tasting of the current vintage. – Description from John Andrews
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