Area of the Great Whites - Côte des Blancs, Coteaux du Morin & Côte de Sézanne

The name Côte des Blancs (literally “side of white”) could allude to the white grapes that thrive here, but in fact it refers to the white chalky soil that characterises the otherwise diverse terroirs of the general area of the Côte des Blancs, Coteaux du Morin, Côte de Sézanne, Montgueux and Vitryat. The latter two subregions have a dedicated map, given their distance from the other three areas. The regions are designated on la carte in a summery yellow shade that reminds us of sun and sand.

The wines of the Côte des Blancs, using 98% chardonnay and only 2% pinot noir, are crisp and thirst-quenching. Chardonnay flourishes in the Côte des Blancs producing some of the purest expressions of the white grape with a distinct mineral signature that differentiates them from champagnes grown in other chardonnay dominant regions. The iconic chalky seam on which the Côte des Blancs vineyards sit gives rise to champagnes with a minerally and briny flavour that are perfectly paired with summer menus of seafood, melons and crisp salads featuring cucumbers, leafy greens and tomatoes.

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In contrast to the terroir of Côte des Blancs in the north of this region, the Côte de Sézanne, despite sitting on the same chalk seam, has large amounts of marl and sand. The slightly higher percentage of clay in this subsoil and a more southerly, warmer location produces a floral, fruity style of champagne from chardonnay grapes, less saline than the traditional style blanc de blancs (white from white) wines encountered further north. Although chardonnay still dominates at 77%, pinot noir (18%) and meunier (5%) are also grown in this subregion.
The Coteaux du Morin is less chardonnay dominated, with a varietal breakdown of 47% meunier, 40% chardonnay and 13% pinot noir. It is known for its diverse soils that produce elegant champagnes; part of the terroir is chalky, suiting the chardonnay grape whilst other soils have a higher percentage of clay which suits the meunier grape best. Many growers in this subregion sell their grapes to the larger Houses however excitingly, a younger generation of vignerons are curiously exploring this terroir.