November 10, 2015
The Champagne wine region is a historic province within the administrative province of Champagne in the northeast of France.
The area is best known for the production of the sparkling white wine that bears the region’s name. EU law and the laws of most countries reserve the term “Champagne” exclusively for wines that come from this region located about 100 miles (160 km) east of Paris.
The viticultural boundaries of Champagne are legally defined and split into five wine producing districts within the administrative province: Aube, Côte des Blancs, Côte de Sézanne, Montagne de Reims, and Vallée de la Marne. The towns of Reims and Épernay are the commercial centers of the area. The area’s proximity to Paris promoted the region’s economic success in its wine trade but also put the villages and vineyards in the path of marching armies on their way to the French capital. Despite the frequency of these military conflicts, the region developed a reputation for quality wine production in the early Middle Ages and was able to continue that reputation as the region’s producers began making sparkling wine with the advent of the great Champagne houses in the 17th & 18th centuries. The principal grapes grown in the region include Chardonnay, Pinot noir, and Pinot Meunier.