Located in the sub-region: Côte des Bar
Vineyards and grape varieties: 5393.0 hectares (13326.4 acres), of which 88.0% Pinot Noir, 9.0% Chardonnay, 1.7% Pinot Meunier, and 1.3% others, mostly Pinot Blanc.
Villages and classification: 33, all “autre cru”.
Villages in the Barséquanais
Villages in the Vallée de l’Arce
- Bertignolles: 26.0 ha (3% Ch/1% PM/96% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Buxières-sur-Arce: 43.4 ha (18% Ch/0% PM/81% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Chacenay: 68.9 ha (3% Ch/0% PM/96% PN/1% others), autre cru (80%)
- Chervey: 143.6 ha (10% Ch/1% PM/89% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Éguilly-sous-Bois: 11.3 ha (4% Ch/0% PM/96% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Merrey-sur-Arce: 131.8 ha (11% Ch/4% PM/82% PN/3% others), autre cru (80%)
- Saint-Usage: 60.0 ha (6% Ch/0% PM/93% PN/1% others), autre cru (80%)
- Ville-sur-Arce: 223.4 ha (7% Ch/2% PM/90% PN/1% others), autre cru (80%)
- Vitry-le-Croisé: 92.9 ha (3% Ch/0% PM/96% PN/1% others), autre cru (80%)
Villages in the Vallée de la Laignes
- Balnot-sur-Laignes: 146.8 ha (7% Ch/1% PM/91% PN/1% others), autre cru (80%)
- Les Riceys: 842.9 ha (6% Ch/1% PM/92% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Polisy: 159.5 ha (11% Ch/2% PM/84% PN/3% others), autre cru (80%)
Villages in the Vallée de l’Ource
- Celles-sur-Ource: 307.8 ha (11% Ch/2% PM/82% PN/6% others), autre cru (80%)
- Cunfin: 25.6 ha (3% Ch/2% PM/95% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Essoyes: 498.4 ha (11% Ch/2% PM/86% PN/1% others), autre cru (80%)
- Fontette: 177.4 ha (9% Ch/1% PM/88% PN/2% others), autre cru (80%)
- Landreville: 281.3 ha (13% Ch/3% PM/82% PN/2% others), autre cru (80%)
- Loches-sur-Ource: 329.1 ha (12% Ch/2% PM/85% PN/1% others), autre cru (80%)
- Noé-les-Mallets: 192.0 ha (9% Ch/0% PM/89% PN/2% others), autre cru (80%)
- Verpillières-sur-Ource: 75.3 ha (6% Ch/1% PM/92% PN/1% others), autre cru (80%)
- Viviers-sur-Artaut: 90.4 ha (10% Ch/14 PM/76% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
Villages in the Vallée de la Sarce
- Avirey-Lingey: 149.7 ha (8% Ch/1% PM/90% PN/1% others), autre cru (80%)
- Bagneux-la-Fosse: 144.2 ha (4% Ch/0% PM/96% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Bragelogne-Beauvoir: 140.7 ha (3% Ch/0% PM/96% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Channes: 69.7 ha (3% Ch/0% PM/97% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
Villages in the Vallée de la Seine
- Bar-sur-Seine: 19.6 ha (20% Ch/2% PM/74% PN/3% others), autre cru (80%)
- Buxeuil: 136.0 ha (15% Ch/1% PM/80% PN/4% others), autre cru (80%)
- Courteron: 84.5 ha (10% Ch/1% PM/89% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Gyé-sur-Seine: 266.6 ha (10% Ch/1% PM/88% PN/1% others), autre cru (80%)
- Mussy-sur-Seine: 48.6 ha (3% Ch/0% PM/97% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Neuville-sur-Seine: 315.8 ha (12% Ch/3% PM/84% PN/1% others), autre cru (80%)
- Plaines-Saint-Lange: 18.0 ha (13% Ch/0% PM/87% PN/0% others), autre cru (80%)
- Polisot: 71.8 ha (9% Ch/2% PM/89% PN/1% others), autre cru (80%)
Google Maps view with the villages in the Barséquanais highlighted.
Clicking on a village opens a field to the left with a link to the village profile, if there is one.
Barséquanais 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 Barséquanais is derived from Bar-sur-Seine, the largest town in the area. The area is located along the Seine river and four number of its tributaries: Arce, Laignes, Ource, and Sarce.
The other area in the Côte des Bar is Bar-sur-Aubois, which is located around the town Bar-sur-Aube and tributaries of the Aube 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 Barséquanais. 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 Barséquanais and Bar-sur-Aubois are two of the 17 areas.
Barséquanais (and most of Bar-sur-Aubois) is located in the Aube department, where Troyes is the departmental capital. 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 village Montgueux, close to Troyes, is an area of its own, and the village Villenauxe-la-Grande is part of the Sézannais are. Furthermore, two of the villages of the Bar-sur-Aubois are located in the Haute-Marne department.
Barséquanais is sometimes divded into five parts according to the five river valleys the villages are located in: Vallée de l’Arce (the Arce valley), Vallée de la Laignes (the Laignes valley), Vallée de l’Ource (the Ource valley), Vallée de la Sarce (the Sarce valley), and Vallée de la Seine (the Seine valley). The respective “valley” in some cases include som short tributaries (streams that don’t empty directly into Seine), and some communes include vineyards that fit into two different valleys. The four rivers that are tributaries of Seine, empty into Seine in the following order from upstream to downstream: Laignes at Polisy, Ource at Merrey-sur-Arce, Arce at Merrey-sur-Arce, and Sarce at Virey-sous-Bar. The collective name les cinq vallées, the five valleys, is sometimes used.
Barséquanais stretches all the way down to the departmental border between Aube and Yonne (to the southwest) and between Aube and Côte-d’Or (to the southeast). Both these departments include vineyards that are part of the Burgundy wine region. I Yonne, we find Chablis and in the north of Côte-d’Or we find Châtillonnais, where Crémant de Bourgogne make up most of the production.
Barséquanais includes the southernmost of all villages in the Champagne wine region, Channes. The village itself is located at 47° 56′ 22” N but the southernmost vineyard are located to the northwest of the village at 47° 56′ 43” N.
The Champagne style of the Côte des Bar and the Barséquanais
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 Barséquanais! In particular, there is quite a bit of 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 communes (on top of the current 319, while 2 are removed), 3 of the communes are located in this area: Arrelles, Balnot-la-Grange, and Étourvy. They expand the area to the west.
The current vineyard surface in the Barséquanais (as of 2013 according to CIVC) is 5393.0 hectares (13326.4 acres), distributed over 1720 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the 33 villages. There are 4744.4 ha Pinot Noir (88.0%), 485.5 ha Chardonnay (9.0%), 91.6 ha Pinot Meunier (1.7%), and 71.5 ha others (1.33%). The category “others” is mostly made up of Pinot Blanc, which is a rather common grape variety in some villages in the Barséquanais.
All 33 villages are clearly Pinot Noir-dominated with 74.5% to 97.3%. The proportion of Pinot Meunier is between 0 and 3.6% in all villages but one, Viviers-sur-Artaut, where it is 14%. In all villages except Viviers-sur-Artaut, Chardonnay is in second place behind Pinot Noir at 2.7% to 20.4%. The proportion others, i.e., mostly Pinot Blanc, is the highest in Celles-sur-Ource at 5.6%. In descending order we then have Buxeuil 4.0%, Polisy 3.3%, Bar-sur-Seine 3.1%, and Merrey-sur-Arce 3.0%.
© Tomas Eriksson 2016, last update 2016-08-14