On the border with Belgium to the North, Picardie and Ile de France to the West, to the South with Burgundy and finally to the East with the regions of Franche-Comté and Lorraine, the Champagne region has a strategic position. The region called Champagne-Ardenne comprises 4 departments : Ardennes, Aube, Marne and Haute-Marne.
The region Champagne-Ardenne offers a large diversity of landscapes with forests, great horizon of cultivated fields, hills with the mountain of Reims and the Côte de Champagne (where the wine is produced) and many rivers in the Côte des Bars(Aube, Aisne, Marne and Seine). In the past these rivers were used for the transportation of goods and did contribute to the development of the region. Nowadays, you may tour Champagne region on luxurious barges.Thanks to the rivers, Champagne is linked with Burgundy in the South.
The type of soil that can be found in Champagne-Ardenne is mainly limestone and more precisely chalk. The origin of this stone dates back to the time (Jurassic& Cretaceous) when the sea was covering the area. When the sea flew back it left an accumulation of shells and micro-organisms whichdried forming the chalk.It gives today areas with rich and poorer subsoil creating as well very flat zones and small hills.
Of course, the rich ground helped to the development of agriculture which is famous in the Champagne region.If poor subsoil and hills are not so good for farming they are very interesting for vines.It is in those areas that you will find some of the best Champagnes.
In France, we use to say that to produce a good wine a vine needs to be under some stress. This is why in all region of France the best vineyards are always located on poor soilswhichare not suitable for grains.
This wine producing region is influenced by both an oceanic climate coming from the west and a continental one from coming the east.Hencethe cool winters and mild summers with frequent rain showers all year long.These conditions are ideal to make the best sparkling wine of the world! Of course it is also thanks to their hard work that the local population succeeded in domesticating, cultivating and setting off the “terroir” to produce Champagne and to perpetuate the making process.
This is the reason why the Champagne-Ardenne region is working to beelected on the World Heritage list of the UNESCO « Landscape of the Champagne region », based on 3 criteria:
The Gallo-roman chalk pits of Reims.
The Avenue de Champagne in Epernay where some of the most famous houses of Champagne can be found (more than 10 Houses!)
The vineyards, from Cumières to Mareuil-sur-Aÿ.