Vallée de la Marne Champagne
Taking a Quick Look at the Vallée de la Marne
As most of you might be aware, the viticultural borders of the world-famous wine region – Champagne have been clearly defined and divided into five winemaking districts.
Vallée de la Marne is among the five wine producing districts of Champagne and is the largest wine producing district of the Champagne wine region.
With the total vineyard area of 11,500 hectares, Vallée de la Marne is considered to be the most important wine districts of Champagne.
Here, a plenty of southern facing slopes are producing ripest wines full of aromas. Now, let’s take a quick look at the viticulture and viniculture in this important district which is bordered by the Epernay City and Aÿ Town on its eastern side and the Marne River on its western side …
Vallée de la Marne has Six Sub-Zones
The Vallée de la Marne wine district is further sub-divided into six sub-zones as follows:
· Grande Vallée de la Marne
· Rive Droite
· Rive Gauche
· Condé en Brie
· Château Thierry Est
· Château Thierry Ouest
Of these, the Grande Vallée de la Marne subzone, which is located to the north of Epernay, is found to have several of the best villages known for the Champagne’s Pinot Noir grape variety.
In particular, the Aÿ is considered to the king of Grande Vallée de la Marne and is the only grand cru village of this sub-zone.
There are other eight villages in Grande Vallée de la Marne with the premier cru status. This subzone is famous for its powerful red wine range.
It has been found that the Grande Vallée de la Marne is the only subzone of Vallée de la Marne where Pinot Noir variety is found to be dominating.
Of the total vineyard area of 1828.5 hectares, almost 65.5% is found to be occupied by Pinot Noir. The other grape varieties of this subzone are Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier.
Pinot Meunier is the Primary Grape Variety
As mentioned above, Grande Vallée de la Marne is the only region in the whole Vallée de la Marne with ‘Pinot Noir’ as the primary grape variety.
In all other sub-zones, Pinot Meunier, which is often underrated Cinderella grape, is found to be the primary grape variety.
This is because of the higher frost risks faced by the low-lying valley lying between the steeper mountain slopes.
The placement of this wine district is found to be funneling the cool air over the vine plants. As Pinot Meunier variety would bud and ripen later than both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, this is able to stand well in the Vallée de la Marne.
By the time the Pinot Meunier flowers, the weather will be warmer here thereby dispelling the colder morning air. Thus, Pinot Meunier is found to be the driving force of the Champagne wines and this is responsible for adding structure and acidity to the wines. Another major reason why Pinot Meunier is growing well in the Vallée de la Marne is the layer of limestone found in the soils of this wine district.
This limestone layer which is deeper with a top layer of clay is very well supporting the growth of this grape variety.
The wines that are being produced from this grape will be fruity and easy to drink. These wines are always in high demand for blending as these wines are claimed to be more rustic and less elegant than Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
They also have lesser aging potential than Chardonnay and Pinot noir. However, many wine producers have started to make 100% Pinot Meunier Champagnes today!
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I am Tharani, I have Bachelors degree in Biotechnology. I am passionate about the wine industry and continue to explore, learn and share and I bring in a wealth of knowledge and expertise to help you keep updated with best wines in the world. Stay tuned..
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