France | Côte des Blancs, Champagne
Located a few kilometres from Epernay the Côte des Blancs is a region dominated by the white grape Chardonnay. It is planted almost exclusively throughout the region, except in Vertus, in the extreme south where there are plantings of Pinot Noir to compete with.
The name Côte des Blancs refers to the slope/hillside (côte) where most of the villages are located and to both the white colour (blanc) of the chalky soils and the long history of the area as an origin of the Chardonnay grape. The chalk-covered ridge of la Côte des Blancs is where the Chardonnay finds its finest expression and the wines produced from these grapes have become the most sought after in all Champagne. They combine great finesse and delicacy with the capacity to mature to an unequalled intensity of flavour.
Six of the 17 grand cru villages in all of Champagne are located in the Côte des Blancs. The four villages in the centre of the region; Cramant, Avize, Oger, and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, as well as two villages to the north: Chouilly and Oiry. The other seven villages are all premier cru status.