Champagne grapes

What Grapes Are in Champagne?

Last updated on February 23rd, 2023 at 10:14 am

Champagne is a sparkling wine that originated and is produced in France’s Champagne wine region underneath the rules of the appellation. This requires specific vineyard practices, grape sourcing exclusively from designated areas within the specific grape-pressing methods, and supplementary fermentation of both the champagne in the flask to cause carbonation.

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Champagne vineyards are chosen for their compatibility with the unique characteristics of the local terroir. Throughout the late seventeenth, 18th, and 19th centuries, champagne was associated with monarchy. 

By advertising and packaging, the top producers attempted to identify their Champagnes with aristocracy and monarchy, which contributed to their appeal among the burgeoning middle class. In Champagne, there are over a dozen Prosecco houses and 19,000 local vignerons (vine-growing growers). These firms manage 32,000 acres of vineyards in the area.

3 main grapes in Champagne

Grape varieties for Champagne
Grape varieties for Champagne

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Champagne vineyards are dominated by the three major grape varieties: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay. Each of these types of grapes contributes a distinct flavor to the wine.

90% of the Champagnes are prepared from a combination of roughly 70% of red grapes (Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier). And 30% of white grape Chardonnay is used in most of the bottles of Champagnes. Exclusively around 5% of the wines like Blanc de Blanc feature only Chardonnay and even fewer contain only red grapes.

Chardonnay (30% of Champagne vineyards) contributes freshness, elegance, and refinement to the Champagne. Pinot Meunier (32% of Champagne vineyards) is a relative of Pinot Noir it enhances the fruitiness and flowery fragrance in the champagne.

Pinot Noir (38% of Champagne vineyards) offers weight, structure, and a rich flavor. These three kinds work wonderfully together to make a superb, well-balanced, perfect blend of champagne.

Pinot Meunier develops later in the spring, which means it has higher cold-weather resilience and can thrive in places where the other two would struggle. However, because Pinot Meunier matures faster, it can be omitted from some high-end Champagnes.

Champagne grape varieties percentage

Champagnes are classified into three types based on their grape constituents. Blanc de Blancs 100% Chardonnay (white grapes), Blanc de Noirs 100% Pinot Nor and/or Pinot Meunier (red grapes), and mixes (of white and red grapes).

Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay are the three main cultivars of champagne responsible for 99% of the region’s champagne plantations. There are only seven types that are allowed to cultivate in Champagne. Including the main three the other four kinds are Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Petit Meslier, and Arbane, all white varieties that account for less than 0.3% of plantings.

What are the 3 types of Champagne?


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There are three main types of champagne produced:

  • Blanc de Noirs is a blanc-style Champagne produced entirely of black grapes. In Champagne, this indicates a blend of Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier. Blanc de Noirs are known for their strawberry and white raspberry tastes.
  • Blanc de Blancs ( white of white) is a blanc Champagne composed entirely of white grapes. In Champagne, this signifies the wine is made entirely of Chardonnay. Blanc de Blancs are known for their lemon and apple-like citrus tastes.
  • Rosé, or pink bubbly, is often prepared by combining white Champagne with a trace of red Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier wine. The red wine prepared for Champagne is not the same as you may expect from Pinot Noir.

What grape is Dom Perignon?

Dom Pérignon is a combination of Pinot noir and Chardonnay grapes, while the final composition varies by vintage. Sometimes a perfect blend e.g., Rosé, occasionally up to the 60% Chardonnay or 60% Pinot noir, and just once going above 60% with 65% Chardonnay in 1970.

Dom Pérignon is a vintage Champagne brand. Is therefore titled after Dom Pérignon, a Benedictine monk who served as a quality pioneer for Champagne wine. But did not develop the Champagne method of manufacturing sparkling wines, contrary to common belief.

7 grapes of champagne

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  1. Pinot Noir is the Champagne region’s most extensively cultivated grape variety (more than 32,000 acres.) With wonderful notes of red berries, this elegant black grape gives depth and strength to the mix. 
  2. Pinot Meunier has typically been used as a combining grape, but it has lately gained prominence as certain Champagne houses have begun to develop 100% Meunier Champagnes. 
  3. Chardonnay grapes are grown in the region on over 25,000 acres. This white grape contributes a delicate aroma to the Champagne, as well as flowery, butter, and citrus characteristics. It gives a combination of racy acidity and structure.
  4. Pinot Blanc is a related white grape varietal to Pinot Noir. Because it grows large berries and is susceptible to botrytis, it requires gentle care and trimming. Pinot Blanc imparts the wine with rich floral and honey notes as well as vibrant acidity.
  5. Pinot Gris (Fromenteau) is regarded to be a modification of Pinot Noir, although its hue is brownish-pink, black, or white. It grows quickly and has a lot of sugar. The grape gives the Champagne blend a robust fruit taste and richness.
  6. Arbane is presently the rarest Champagne grape, with less than 2.5 acres remaining in France. It’s a pale yellow grape with an extremely poor yield and a significant susceptibility to downy mildew. Despite its scarcity, Arbane, with its rustic herbal tastes, is still utilized in select Champagnes.
  7. Petit Meslier is a white grape that is linked to Chardonnay. It is frost-hardy and has poor disease resistance and minimal yields. Because of its sharp acidity, the grape is utilized in modest quantities in Champagne it gives the wine vegetal aromas.

Blanc de blanc champagne grapes

Blanc de Blancs terms translate as “White from Whites is a Prosecco word. It refers to champagne made exclusively of white grapes, most typically Chardonnay. Arbane and Pinot Blanc are also authorized in the appellation, as are several other types, but they are less prevalent. 

Champagne’s southern regions, like the Cote des Blancs, are distinguished by their distinctive chalky soil composition. Blanc de Blancs has a refreshing taste full of citrus notes and a subtle minerality, and goes well with seafood, like oysters or sushi.

What is the difference between Blanc de Blanc and Brut?

The concentration of residual sugar within wine is referred to as Brut. Champagne standards, but indicates 0-12 grams of sugar per liter of wine. However, blanc de blanc refers t the white of white vine that is created from the white grapes (in the case of Champagne, this almost invariably means that the wine is 100% Chardonnay). 

Another distinction is the grape variety.

For a champagne brut, three grapes are used: chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot Meunier. While a blanc de blanc is only produced with Chardonnay grapes.

Pinot Meunier champagne

Pinot Meunier, often known as Meunier, is a red wine grape variety best known for being one of the three major types used in the manufacture of Champagne. Pinot Meunier accounts for around one-third of all grapes cultivated in Champagne. 

It is a hybrid mutation of Pinot: whose inner membranes are made of a Pinot genotype similar to Pinot Gris or Pinot noir. However, the exterior, epidermal, layer is composed of a mutant, unique genotype. 

What is the difference between Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier?

Pinot Meunier is is like a third member of that forgotten 1980s pop band in the top three grapevine cultivators. It’s a cloning mutant that’s closely connected to Pinot Noir.

The Pinot Meunier’s greatest claim to fame is that, together with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it is the third grape variety permitted in Champagne. It’s also one of Best’s Wines’ oldest grape varietals. Pinot Noir and Meunier are the same grape, although different clones express distinct mutations.

FAQ relating to what grapes are in champagne

 What kind of grapes are used for Champagne?

Almost all Champagne is made from the grapes Pinot noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay are the main cultivators. Along with tiny volumes of Pinot Gris, Pinot blanc also called Fromenteau in Champagne, Petit Meslier and Arbane are also vinified.

Which grapes are never used to make Champagne?

Other than the seven allowed cultivable grapes, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Arbane, and Petit Messier, the rest other are grapes are injurious. Or poisonous for creating wines or champagne.

 What grape is Dom Perignon?

Dom Pérignon is always a blend of Pinot noir and Chardonnay grapes, while the ultimate blend varies with each vintage of Rose.

What grapes are in Moet and Chandon?

The rich aroma and color of Moet & Chandon champagne are the result of mixing the top three different types of grapes: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay. Each grape varietal provides its distinct characteristics to the very exquisite enjoyment of Moet & Chandon champagnes.

Moet is so popular with the royals that it was the Champagne of choice for Charles and Diana’s 1981 wedding. Moet & Chandon is part of the world’s greatest luxury business LVMH, a.k.a. Louis Vuitton Moet-Hennessy, which was founded in the 1980s. So it’s only logical that Moet has a “Royal Warrant” to provide Queen Elizabeth with Champagne.

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