The Côte des Blancs is a ridge with a height of 250 metres above land and runs from north to south. The slopes of the ridge are vineyards with deep ravines that have been eroded by a few rivers. The area is planted with the grape varieties: Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, also the landscape has a clearly visible top covered with forest. The Côte des Blancs is very suitable for growing the Chardonnay grape, about 97% of the area is planted with this grape variety.
The Chardonnay ensures a fresh, bright and sparkling Champagne. The hillsides south of Epernay are vineyards facing toward the east with a chalk base. That's why it's called the Côte des Blancs, the Chardonnay is the main grape variety cultivated in this area. The Grand Cru is a municipality in the Champagne region and all the grapes ultivated by the vineyards in these municipalities, irrespective of soil and location, are called Grand Cru.
Epernay, the heart of the Champagne region
The city of Epernay is situated in the heart of 30,000 hectares of vineyards in the French wine region "Champagne-Ardenne". Epernay is the historic centre of the Champagne production. The soil is chalky and in the direct environment you will find the three grape vareties that are necessary to produce Champagne; the Chardonnay, the Pinot Noir and the Pinot Meunier.
The main street in Epernay is the Avenue de Champagne; here you'll find numerous Champagne Houses, like Moët & Chandon, Boizel and Esterlin. Underneath this street you'll find a network of caves where the Champagne Houses store their Champagnes and where the maturation process of the wine takes place. The caves have a constant temperature of 10 degrees Celsius with a high humidity.