Despite its name, this region does not include a mountain, but rather a large, thickly forested plateau rising only about 280m above sea level. Forming an arc shape open to the west, vines are planted around its edges and also extend beyond the plateau to both the north and the west.
There are four subregions shown on the map in varying shades of purple;
- Grande Montagne forms the most western part of the arc and the vineyards are almost entirely planted with pinot noir, apart from a smattering of chardonnay grapes.
- Petite Montagne is separated from Grande Montagne by the main north-south road between Epernay and Reims. This section, is referred to as “petite” because of its lower elevation and is known for its extensive plantings of meunier grapes.
- Massif de Saint-Thierry is north west of Reims and sits on sandy soils.
- Monts de Berru is a small, remote area to the east of Reims with a terroir that combines chalk, sand, limestone and clay.
The champagnes from Montagne de Reims are influenced by their terroir
and have a softer flavour profile as a result of being grown in earth where the characteristic chalk of the Champagne region is buried below a layer of topsoil. Eventually on their journey the vine roots find the chalk but part of their profile comes from exposure to the varied combinations of the topsoil, clay, sand and silt as they work their way down. The influence of terroir
also includes less sun exposure than other regions due to a cooler micro climate and higher gradient slopes. This slows the ripening of the grapes and therefore produces lower yields.
Red-skinned grapes dominate, with the champagnes being made mostly from pinot noir (41%) and meunier grapes (34%), with some chardonnay (25%). The result is an array of excellent champagnes to drink in winter as they are luscious and full-bodied with flavours that provide richness, complexity and wonderful depth to the wine. They are perfect for enjoying with warming winter soul foods such as rich stews, gratins, dark green vegetables, like broccoli and Brussels sprouts with lashings of butter or root vegetables roasted in olive oil.