Champagne area profile: Grande Vallée de la Marne

Key facts

Located in: Vallée de la Marne
Vineyards and grape varieties: 1828.5 ha (4518.3 acres), of which 65.5% Pinot Noir, 18.9% Chardonnay, and 15.5% Pinot Meunier.
Villages and classification: 9 villages, of which 1 grand cru (Aÿ) and 8 premier cru.
Noted for: good and powerful Pinot Noir from south-facing slopes, several Champagne houses in Aÿ.

Map

A neat sketch of  Grande Vallée de la Marne where also the topography can also be seen. The orange-coloured areas represent the vineyards. The picture belongs to the Unions de Maisons de Champagne, and is linked form their webpage describing the Grande Vallée de la Marne.

Neighbouring areas

East (same side of the Marne): Grande Montagne de Reims
West (same side of the Marne): Vallée de la Marne Rive Droite
Southwest (opposite side of the Marne): Vallée de la Marne Rive Gauche
South (opposite side of the Marne): Côteaux Sud d’Épernay
Southeast (opposite side of the Marne): Cote des Blancs
Comments: links will be added when profiles of the other areas have been uploaded.

Description

The Grande Vallée de la Marne is one of 17 areas (“terroirs”) in the Champagne wine region, at least in the scheme used by the Union de Maisons de Champagne (UMC), and these 17 areas are grouped into four subregions, of which the Vallée de la Marne is one.

The Grande Vallée de la Marne is the eastern part of the Vallé de la Marne, the Marne valley, where this river valley is a bit wider, and this area is situated only on the right bank (the north side) of the Marne river. The area is located across the Marne from Épernay and its slopes is a continuation of the southern part of the Grande Montagne de Reims area.

Thanks to the fine south-facing slopes of this area, many of Champagne’s best villages for Pinot Noir are found here. Of the nine villages in the area, Aÿ is the crown jewel and the only grand cru village, while the other eight are premier cru villages. The style of the Champagnes from this area is typically powerful. There are also good conditions to produce red wines in this area, and in particular Aÿ and Cumières have a tradition of doing this.

The Grande Vallée de la Marne is the only part of the Vallé de la Marne that is dominated by Pinot Noir. In the other areas, both further to the west and on the left bank of the Marne, Pinot Meunier dominates.

The border between the Grande Vallée de la Marne and the (Grande) Montagne de Reims

I’ve seen slightly different locations of the border between the Grande Vallée de la Marne and the Montagne de Reims in differerent sources. In any case, in the scheme from UMC that I use, the Grande Vallée de la Marne stretch from Cumières in the west to Avenay-Val-d’Or and Bisseuil in the east. The villages one step further to the east, Fontaine-sur-Aÿ and Tours-sur-Marne, is counted as part of the Grande Montagne de Reims.

In the background, most of the Grande Vallée de la Marne and its vineyards are visible. The picture is taken from the Épernay side (the Côteaux Sud d’Épernay area), where the vineyards in the foreground are located. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo by Fab5669, 2014).

Vineyards

Current vineyard surface in the Grande Vallée de la Marne (as of 2013 according to CIVC) is 1828.5 ha (4518.3 acres), distributed over 1116 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the 9 villages. There are 1195.6 ha (2954.4 acres) Pinot Noir, or 65.5%, 346.7 ha (856.7 acres) Chardonnay, or 18.9%, and 283.5 ha (700.5 acres) Pinot Meunier, or 15.5%.

Of the nine villages, five have more than 50% Pinot Noir in their vineyards, and in descending order after proportion they are Aÿ, Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Mutigny, Avenay-Val-d’Or, and Cumières. Three additional villages have more Pinot Noir as the most common variety although the proportion is less than half (39%-49%): Champillon, Hautvillers, and Dizy. One village, Bisseuil, has more than half Chardonnay (63%).

Villages

The following nine villages are located in the Grande Vallée de la Marne area:

  • Avenay-Val-d’Or: 237,7 ha (12% Ch / 10% PM / 77% PN), premier cru (93%)
  • Aÿ: 367 ha (8% Ch / 3% PM / 89% PN), grand cru (100%)
  • Bisseuil: 125,7 ha (63% Ch / 7% PM / 30% PN), premier cru (95%)
  • Champillon: 72,5 ha (18% Ch / 32% PM / 36% PN), premier cru (93%)
  • Cumières: 171,6 ha (19% Ch / 27% PM / 54% PN), premier cru (93%)
  • Dizy: 177 ha (37% Ch / 23% PM / 39% PN), premier cru (95%)
  • Hautvillers: 284,1 ha (22% Ch / 33% PM / 45% PN), premier cru (93%)
  • Mareuil-sur-Aÿ: 291,2 ha (9% Ch / 7% PM / 83% PN), premier cru (99%)
  • Mutigny: 101,5 ha (7% Ch / 13% PM / 81% PN), premier cru (93%)

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2014

Comments: this area profile posted as a blog entry isn’t being updated, unlike the area profile posted as a page, acessible from a menu on the top of the blog. After this first profile I chose the page form for those I wrote later, and this entry is kept as it is for historical reasons.

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