Champagne always a bit of a party


Côte des Bar

The Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOP) Champagne covers 5 sub-regions. Most Northern tourists already stop their trip in the popular region in Montagne de Reims, the sub-region around the city. But we also have Vallée de la Marne (Aÿ), Côte des Blancs (Epernay) and Côte de Sezanne. Sommelier, Gunther De Grom, however, lost his heart in Côte des Bar, the most Southern region of AOP Champagne in the Aube department. This region is located more than 150 km south of Reims and about 50 km east of Troyes.

The landscape is different compared to the center of the Champagne region. The vineyards are interspersed with forests, small villages, farms and rivers. It is completely different from the densely vegetated Northern regions. Moreover, the vineyards here benefit from a semi-continental climate, so slightly warmer than the regions around Reims and Epernay.

Although most growers in the 19th century sold their grapes to large champagne houses, since 2000 they have evolved into a culture of artisanal, experimental, terroir-driven Champagne. The vineyard area has since grown by almost 20% and now covers almost a quarter of the entire Champagne region.

Just like in the rest of the AOP Champagne, the 3 noble grapes are also used here: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. But Pinot Noir dominates the landscape, with about 86 percent of the vines in the Côte des Bar. The blue grapes come into their own here because the hills are often steeper than in the north and therefore get a little more sunshine.

The Champagne region is well known for its distinctive limestone soils just outside the center of the Paris Basin. But the Côte des Bar is just on the edge of this strip, where lime and clay meet. This is called Kimmeridgian and is characterized by fossils of the oyster species – perhaps that’s why Champagne and oysters are always a good combination – which gives specific mineral notes to the wine.

Kimmeridgian soil is a mixture of limestone and clay marl. The limestone maintains the acidity and the clay marl provides a round, rich structure and rich fruit flavours. This soil, in combination with the slightly warmer temperatures, makes Côte des Bar Champagne more complex and softer than those from the North.


Limestone in the soil increases the acidity in the wine.

Clay marl

Clay marl provides roundness and a rich fruity profile to the wine.

Why drink Côte des Bar?

The big reason champagne lovers yearn for wines from the Côte des Bar today is that the winegrowers produce their wines with grapes sourced only from their own estate, rather than purchased grapes, giving greater control over the quality of the fruit. Once dismissed as second-rate, the progressive producers of the Côte des Bar have developed a culture of experimentation and innovation, which only contributes to very good value for money. Let yourself be seduced by this lesser-known Champagne region and join the excitement!