The Champagne

Many people don’t know it, but 10% of the AOC champagne in France is produced in the Hauts-de-France region. In the extreme south of the Aisne, around Château-Thierry, the hillsides benefit from an abundance of sunshine.

A champagne wine, three grape varieties

Following the meanders of the Marne River, forty short kilometers separate Trélou-sur-Marne (east) from Crouttes-sur-Marne (west). It is precisely there, on some 3,400 hectares of clay-limestone slopes, that three grape varieties characteristic of the southern Aisne region soak up the summer sun : chardonnay, pinot noir and especially pinot meunier (2/3 of the vine stocks). Once the harvest is over, these grapes will give a fabulous champagne wine, supple, balanced and renowned for its fruity notes. In Hauts-de-France, the production of champagne represents between 20 and 25 million bottles per year. That is 10% of the national production.

Champagne, the passion

In the Aisne, the 550 winegrowers are almost all independent producers-harvesters whose average area of operation varies between 5 and 10 hectares. Here, there is no flashy or expedient approach. The winegrowers of Aix-en-Provence have an innate sense of welcome coupled with a serious inclination to tickle the visitor’s curiosity. They start by explaining their passion, a heritage of family know-how that goes back four, five, even six generations. Then they take you to the vineyards. Back at the winery, it’s an oenological quiz and a peregrination in the cellars full of anecdotes. When it’s time for the tasting, the emotions come to the surface like fine bubbles wriggling with joy.