Located in the sub-region: Côte des Bar
Vineyards and grape varieties: 2385.3 hectares, of which 80.4% Pinot Noir, 11.6% Chardonnay, 7.4% Pinot Meunier, and 0.6% others, mostly Pinot Blanc.
Villages and classification: 33, all “autre cru”.
Villages in the Bar-sur-Aubois
- Ailleville: 39.4 ha (9% Ch/5% PM/86% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Arconville: 59.1 ha (10% Ch/1% PM/88% PN/1% others), autre cru (80%)
- Argançon: 43.8 ha (3% Ch/4% PM/93% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Arrentières: 136.8 ha (12% Ch/7% PM/80% PN/1% others), autre cru (80%)
- Arsonval: 25.6 ha (27% Ch/2% PM/71% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Bar-sur-Aube: 94.7 ha (9% Ch/9% PM/82% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Baroville: 221.0 ha (10% Ch/1% PM/88% PN/1% others), autre cru (80%)
- Bergères: 95.3 ha (12% Ch/4% PM/84% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Bligny: 155.0 ha (15% Ch/3% PM/82% PN/1% others), autre cru (80%)
- Champignol-lez-Mondeville: 142.4 ha (8% Ch/1% PM/91% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Colombé-la-Fosse: 108.6 ha (15% Ch/23% PM/62% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Colombé-le-Sec: 145.8 ha (17% Ch/12% PM/70% PN/1% others), autre cru (80%)
- Colombey-les-Deux-Églises: 41.4 ha (11% Ch/4% PM/85% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Couvignon: 110.2 ha (11% Ch/4% PM/85% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Dolancourt: 28.8 ha (14% Ch/0% PM/86% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Engente: 19.7 ha (3% Ch/6% PM/91% PN/1% others), autre cru (80%)
- Fontaine: 49.4 ha (8% Ch/14% PM/78% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Fravaux: 15.7 ha (1% Ch/4% PM/94% PN/1% others), autre cru (80%)
- Jaucourt: 21.5 ha (20% Ch/10% PM/70% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Lignol-le-Château: 45.6 ha (5% Ch/6% PM/89% PN/1% others), autre cru (80%)
- Meurville: 165.0 ha (14% Ch/6% PM/78% PN/1% others), autre cru (80%)
- Montier-en-l’Isle: 59.8 ha (13% Ch/11% PM/77% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Proverville: 24.9 ha (8% Ch/4% PM/88% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Rizaucourt-Buchey: 36.5 ha (9% Ch/9% PM/82% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Rouvres-les-Vignes: 101.1 ha (10% Ch/13% PM/77% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Saulcy: 26.9 ha (10% Ch/16% PM/74% PN/1% others), autre cru (80%)
- Spoy: 71.7 ha (7% Ch/6% PM/87% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Trannes: 8.1 ha (20% Ch/35% PM/46% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Urville: 188.3 ha (14% Ch/8% PM/76% PN/2% others), autre cru (80%)
- Voigny: 103.2 ha (11% Ch/18% PM/71% PN/1% others), autre cru (80%)
Google Maps view with the villages in the Bar-sur-Aubois highlighted.
Clicking on a village opens a field to the left with a link to the village profile, if there is one.
Bar-sur-Aubois is one of two areas that make up the Côte des Bar sub-region, which is the southernmost part of the Champagne wine region. The name Bar-sur-Aubois refers to Bar-sur-Aube, the central town in the area. The area is located along the Aube river and a number of its tributaries.
The other area in the Côte des Bar is Barséquanais, which is located around the town Bar-sur-Seine and tributaries of the Seine river. A simple rule of thumb to differentiate the Barséquanais and the Bar-sur-Aubois is that the A5 motorway is a border between them; Barséquanais is located to the south of A5 and the Bar-sur-Aubois to the north of A5.
It is not too common to see references made to the Bar-sur-Aubois. Instead, the Côte des Bar sub-region is refered to as a whole. However, I have chosen to follow the scheme used by the Union de Maisons de Champagne (UMC), where the Champagne wine region is divided into 17 areas (“terroirs”). These 17 areas are then grouped into four subregions. Côte des Bar is one of the four sub-regions and Bar-sur-Aubois and Barséquanais are two of the 17 areas.
Most of Bar-sur-Aubois (and all of Barséquanais) is located in the Aube department, where Troyes is the departmental capital. Two of the villages of the Bar-sur-Aubois, Colombey-les-Deux-Églises and Rizaucourt-Buchey, are located in the Haute-Marne department. The areas around Reims and Épernay are located in the Marne department. Sometimes “Aube” is used synonymously with Côte des Bar. This is not entirely correct since the Bar-sur-Aubois stretches across the border into Haute-Marne. Also, the village Montgueux, close to Troyes, is an area of its own, and the village Villenauxe-la-Grande is part of the Sézannais area. (Both are in Aube.) The expansion of the Champagne appellation into Haute-Marne occurred in 1973, so before that all of Côte des Bar was indeed within the borders of Aube.
Bar-sur-Aubois includes the easternmost of all villages in the Champagne wine region, Colombey-les-Deux-Églises.
The Champagne style of the Côte des Bar and the Bar-sur-Aubois
The whole Côte des Bar sub-region is clearly Pinot Noir-dominated. The Champagnes are often described as fruity and slightly “softer” than those from the Montagne de Reims, and they tend to develop a little faster. However, there are small producers in the part of the wine region that produce Champagnes in a distinctyly firm and acid-dominated style.
It should be noted that the soils show clear similarities to those in Chablis, with a mixture of limestone and clay. However, the tradition here is Pinot Noir rather than Chardonnay, probably because Chablis is the northernmost part of Burgundy while Côte des Bar is the southernmost part of Champagne, and it requires a slighly lower ripeness of the grapes to produce sparkling wines compared to still wines, since some alcohol (about 1.2% by volume if the full 6 atm pressure is created) is added at the second fermentation.
Classification as “autre cru”
All villages in the Côte des Bar were scored 80% on the now-defunct échelle des crus, the lowest number that was used since the villages were at 80%-100%. This means that all the villages are “autres crus”, the informal designation for the villages that aren’t grand cru (100%) or premier cru (90%-99%). This “collective” or “one size fits all” treatment of the whole southern part of Champagne could possibly be justified by the fact that the vineyards of almost all villages are more spread-out and heterogenous in slope and exposure than what is the case for the villages on the Montagne de Reims and in the Côte des Blancs, combined with a less chalk-dominated soils and the fact that the whole villages are rated rather than individual vineuards. In practice, however, this treatment is most likely a legacy from when the Aube vineyards were included in the appellation as a “secondary zone”.
The autre cru classification definitely doesn’t mean that there are no good vineyards in the Bar-sur-Aubois! In particular, there is rather much south-facing vineyards where Pinot Noir has good opportunities to ripen.
Most major Champagne producers are located in the Marne department, so historically, a large proportion of the grapes from Aube and the Côte des Bar have been sent north (as grape must) to the large houses of in the Reims-Épernay-area to be part of their production. A clear trend throughout the 21st century is that high quality small producers crop up here as well.
Plans for future expansion of the area
In the expansion proposed for the Champagne wine region/appellation with 40 new villages (on top of the current 319 communes, while 2 are removed), 3 of the villages are located in this area: Bossancourt, Champcourt, and Harricourt. They expand the area to the northwest and east, and Champcourt will take over as the easternmost village of the appellation. However, neither Champcourt or Harricourt are communes of their own, but rather villages/hamlets within the Colombey-les-Deux-Églises commune, which is already part of the Bar-sur-Aubois. My interpretation is therefore that the proposal is actually 38 new communes, but that new areas within the large Colombey-les-Deux-Église commune will have vineyards in the future.
The current vineyard surface in the Bar-sur-Aubois (as of 2013 according to CIVC) is 2385.3 hectares (5894.2 acres), distributed over 707 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the 30 villages. There are 1916.8 ha Pinot Noir (80.4%), 277.2 ha Chardonnay (11.6%), 176.7 ha Pinot Meunier (7.4%), and 14.6 ha others (0.6%). The category “others” is mostly made up of Pinot Blanc.
In all villages, Pinot Noir is the most common grape variety. In 28 of 30 villages, the proportion of Pinot Noir of 70.0% to 93.6%, and two villages are below that: Trannes at 45.7% and Colombé-la-Fosse at 61.9%. These two villages also have the highest proportion of Pinot Meunier, 34.6% and 22.7%. The highest proportion of Chardonnay is found in Arsonval at 27,3%, followed by Trannes at 19.8%, and Jaucourt at 19.5%. The proportion of “others”, i.e., mostly Pinot Blanc, is the highest in Urville at 2.2%.
© Tomas Eriksson 2016-2017, last update 2017-03-05