Sometimes mentioned on your bottles, the designation Grand Cru champagne refers to a wine made exclusively with grapes from one or more communes classified as Grand Cru. This prestigious label is only awarded to 17 of the noblest terroirs in Champagne.
A symbol of French excellence, Champagne Grand Cru are complex and subtle wines. These champagnes are perfect to accompany your aperitifs as well as your meals - refined dishes and gourmet desserts!
Delineated by law in 1927, the production area of the Champagne Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) covers approximately 34,000 hectares. A sufficiently large vineyard to accommodate a wide variety of terroirs with very different characteristics, resulting in so many different types of champagne (brut, extra-brut, zero dosage, etc.). It is for this reason that a rating system was established at the beginning of the 20th century in order to facilitate the appreciation of the grapes harvested there and, eventually, of the wines produced.
But at the roots of this system is a negotiation still in force today between the Champagne winemakers and the Champagne houses.
The 19th century was a golden age for Champagne wines, with demand increasing fourfold in less than 50 years. At the time, practically all the production of Champagne was carried out by the merchants and large houses that we are familiar with to this day. They bought the grapes from the winegrowers immediately after the harvest in order to make the wine themselves. The price of the grapes per kilo was then fixed unilaterally by the buyer depending on the village of origin and according to a quality scale indexed to the villages of the Côte des Blancs. This situation of dependence on a scale fixed by the buyer led the Champagne winegrowers to rally. In 1927, this same mobilisation led to the modern classification of Grand Cru and Premier Cru champagnes as we know it today.
Nowadays, the communes of the Champagne region are classified according to a scale of crus that goes from 100% to 80% depending on the grape quality. The communes designated as Grand Cru produce champagnes from grapes classified at 100%, i.e. those deemed to be the best...
Of the 319 villages in the Champagne region, only 17 (*) are considered exceptional terroirs. They are spread between the Côte des Blancs, the Reims Mountain and the Marne Valley. Premier and Grand Cru champagnes are both supposed to embody the best of the Champagne know-how, and Grand Cru are generally considered as superior wines. They stand out for the quality of the soil and the sunshine their grapes have benefited from. These optimal conditions make them exceptional champagnes.
Like all prestigious products, Grand Cru champagnes are also relatively rare wines. Indeed, only a few Champagne communes are classified as such and their production is often voluntarily limited in order to obtain the best aromatic concentration.
Following the Grand Cru champagnes come the Premier Cru. They are made from grapes classified from 99 to 90% and from one or more of the 44 communes recognised as such.
Finally, there are the "other crus". This term covers the rest of the communes of the PDO, where the grapes have been classified from 89 to 80%. This latter classification represents the vast majority of Champagne production.
The Champagne appellation area authorises the growing of 7 grape varieties for champagne production: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, Arbane, Petit Meslier, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris.
In fact, only 2 of them are used in the composition of a Grand Cru champagne: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Choosing is difficult when you haven't tasted it yet... That's why the Champagne Terroir team has selected for you the best of the Grand Cru champagnes from winegrowers. So don't worry, our knowledge of our winegrowers and their know-how has enabled us to select the best Champagne wines for you so that you can enjoy your bubbles serenely. You will find in our selection of winegrowers whose Premier and Grand Cru vineyards stand alongside the greatest names in Champagne such as Moët et Chandon and Laurent Perrier.
Feel free to explore our Grand Cru champagne selection and discover our many talented winemakers. And remember, if in doubt, feel free to ask us your questions as it is our job as a wine merchant to help you select your Grand Cru champagne from a winemaker!
Discover all our cuvées and feel free to ask us for advice via the chat (bottom right of your screen), by email or directly by phone at +33 1 89 27 00 60 (Monday to Friday, from 9am to 6pm UTC+2).
(*) The 17 Champagne communes classified as Grand Cru are:
- In the Côte des Blancs, a terroir renowned for the purity of its Chardonnays: Avize, Chouilly, Cramant, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Oiry, Oger.
- In the Reims Mountain, land of predilection of the Pinot Noir: Ambonnay, Beaumont-sur-Vesle, Bouzy, Louvois, Mailly, Puisieulx, Sillery, Tours-sur-Marne, Verzenay, Verzy.
- In the Marne Valley: Aÿ.