The grand cru champagne category includes top-quality Champagne from France’s top wine brands. Champagne houses and vineyard owners who earn grand cru achieve a significant advantage over champagne producers.
Grand Cru Champagne: What’s Special About Grand Cru?
French wine producers are famous for using their classification of wines. The best-known classification was developed for Bordeaux in the 19th century. The champagne region started using terms like grand cru in the 20th century.
In essence, certain villages became known for the high quality of their grapes. Becoming a cru village was a mark of status and meant higher incomes. In addition to those lucky villages, there is another tier of villages called “premier cru.” This recognition meant that producers could earn higher grape prices per kilo of grapes they sold.
By 2004, the grand cru concept in Champagne was abandoned. The wine region had caused conflicts on the price that violated the European Union’s anti-competitive rules. The pricing structure had to change, and even partial measures like indicative prices are now a thing of the past. As a result, the term ‘grand cru’ for Champagne no longer means much today. Older Champagne production, before this practice was banned, may still have the Grand Cru label.
Overall, the Grand Cru champagne classification is no longer significant. It is only kept in some places because it is part of local customers. Despite this change, many champagne lovers still have favourite villages and enjoy wine tours of the area. That said, a combination of fruit from the region (i.e., a blend of neighbouring villages) can still make an excellent bottle of wine.
The Key Grape Varieties In Quality Champagne
Champagne grape growers traditionally specialize in producing a small number of grapes since the 19th century. Champagne’s special fruity and floral notes are usually made from a few specific grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. All of these grapes have a role to play in producing champagne style wine. In many cases, active vineyard plots have been producing wine with citrus notes since the late 1800s, if not earlier.
However, a barrel of wine needs more than suitable grapes to be considered Champagne. There are additional rules regarding the excellent fruit that must be used.
Grand Cru champagne: Top 3 Champagne Bottles
The price of a bottle of Champagne varies depending on several factors. The Champagne wine region has relatively high production costs compared to champagne alternatives. In addition to costs, the champagne industry adjusts pricing based on whether they serve vintage champagnes or non-vintage bottles.
Since the Grand Cru Champagne term no longer has any official meaning, this list will focus on high-quality champagne bottles (compare it to Remy Grand Cru). After reading this list, keep learning about sparkling wines through this guide to organic Champagne. All these bottles are produced within the geographical limits of the Champagne region.
1 Louis Roederer’s Champagne
This champagne house has an excellent reputation starting at $50 per bottle for non-vintage champagne. The winemaker typically uses a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier. The wine producers have earned multiple awards from French and international wine competitions.
2 Billecart-Salmon Brut Sous-Bois Champagne
This sparkling wine producer was founded in 1818. With a starting price of around $75 per bottle, this champagne pairs well with seafood dishes like lobster, crab, and shellfish. Reviewers have commented positively on the wine’s mineral structure. The champagne alcohol percentage is 12%, which is standard for Champagne.
3 Clotilde Brut “Grand-Cru” Champagne
In contrast to the other wines mentioned, this Blanc de Blanc wine is made solely from Chardonnay. The sparkling wine is known for its apple and honey flavors. It may be difficult to find outside of France, but you can find it at the Golden Gate Wine Cellars.
Want Other Sparkling Wines?
If you’re on a budget, don’t bother with price ranking – Champagne is relatively expensive! Instead, look at other sparkling wine options like Burgundy’s Cremant de Bourgogne. Burgundian producers may not produce Brut Champagne, but their sparkling wines are excellent.
Grand Cru Champagne In Summary
This Champagne term is a historical designation that no longer applies in French wine. Even though it is no longer active, it is still helpful as a way to identify high quality Champagne producers and villages.