The last of the 4 appointments about the Champagne macro-regions, this article is the last stop of our tour of the Region, which features the Côte des Bar, also known as Aube.
For those who missed the previous articles regarding the other Champagne macro-regions, you can read them here: Tour in the Champagne Region: the Montagne de Reims, Tour in the Champagne Region: the Vallée de la Marne, Tour in the Champagne Region: the Côte des Blancs.
This article will be an opportunity both to learn more about the geography of the Côte des Bar, and to give you some advice on our favorite local Champagnes, to be tasted alone or in company, on special occasions and beyond; because as we say, it's always the right time for Champagne.
Côte des Bar has 65 municipalities and there are no Grand Cru or Premier Cru; it is located in the southernmost part of the Champagne production area and has a total vineyard area of 8,106 hectares.
Côte des Bar is only 50 km far from Chablis (the northernmost wine-growing area of Burgundy), and is linked to it both from a territorial and historical point of view: at first under the territorial administration of Burgundy, since 1927 has returned to being a sub-area of Champagne.
The climate is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean which, by bringing humidity from the north, mitigates the temperatures, increasing them by a few degrees compared to Chablis and favoring the ideal conditions for the maturation of Pinot Noir, the main grape of the Côte des Bar.
Pinot Noir (83.9% of the vineyard area) is well suited to the clayey-calcareous soil of the area, similar to that of the Kimmeridgian of Chablis, and produces Champagne with a strong personality and marked lightness. The remaining part is made up of Chardonnay (11.6%), Meunier (3.2%) and a very small part of Pinot Blanc, Arbane and Petit Meslier, the so-called “cépages oubliés”, the abandoned vines.
How better conclude our tour of the Region if not by telling you about what, in our opinion, are some of the great Champagnes in the area? Are you curious?
The Champagne Brut nature Chevry of the Maison Petit Clergeot is the fruit of 100% Pinot Noir, expression of the Chevry parcel (lieu-dit) in Polisot, planted in 1976. Vinification in small steel tanks and aging on the yeasts for 30 months, this very first cuvée was born under the impulse of Bastien Clergeot in only 3,684 bottles.
The Champagne Rosé Brut Nature La Grande Homée by Barrat-Masson, an assembly of 100% Pinot Noir is a very expressive and personality rosé de saignée, vinous, fruity and refreshing. Also in this case it is a Champagne produced in limited quantities for only 1,800 bottles by Aurélie and Loic, respectively winemaker and vigneron of the Domaine located in Villenauxe-la-Grande.
Hugging the city of Troyes to the east, the Vallée de la Senne to the north and the natural region of Pays d'Othe to the west, Montgueux is Champagne's southernmost Chardonnay village. Here stands the Domaine Jean Velut characterized by 7.8 hectares of vineyards cultivated for 90% by Chardonnay grapes.
Its Champagne Lumière et Craie, 100% Chardonnay, is perfect for those who love naturalness and authenticity and it is ideal both to accompany the meal and at any time of the day, to be shared in a moment of conviviality. Fruity notes stand out on the nose with important mineral and spicy hints, while the palate is fresh, savory and lively.
Even the Champagne Extra Brut L'Osmose by Pierre Gerbais is the fruit of 100% Chardonnay and is harvested from the parcel (lieu-dit) "Les Côtes", a historic family vineyard planted in 1973. Rich and fresh Champagne Blanc de Blancs that vinifies and ferments in steel with an aging for over 36 months.
Olivier Horiot, a promising vigneron from the village of Ricey, has promoted the mission to bring back the “Cépage Oublies”, of which we have already talked about. His Champagne Brut Nature Éphémère 2015 is a blend of Meunier, Pinot Gris and Petit Meslier, in proportions defined by the creative gamble of Olivier, and it portrays on the label the Japanese ideogram of Unmei which means "Chance" or "Destiny", just to indicate the uniqueness of this new cuvée. Vibrant and structured Champagne, of incredible refinement and excellent drinkability which has all the characteristics to be considered a great Champagne.
Vincent Couche is a young Vigneron from the Côte des Bar who manages the family Domaine, which includes 10 hectares of vineyards planted with Pinot Noir in Buxeuil and 3 hectares planted with Chardonnay in Montgueux. His Champagne Brut Nature Chloé, made up of 2/3 of Pinot Noir and 1/3 of Chardonnay, is a "buttery" Champagne, fresh and mature, vinified in barrique and without added sulfur.
Discover here the selection of GLUGULP! Champagne