What does “Grand Cru” mean on a Champagne bottle?
“Grand Cru” on a Champagne label indicates that the particular bottling is made entirely from grapes that come from Grand Cru villages. This is a marker of higher quality grapes (and therefore higher prices). Grand Cru Champagnes tend to offer more complexity than regular Champagnes.
There are 17 Grand Cru villages located mainly in the Montagne de Reims and the Cote des Blancs subregions of Champagne. The majority of Grand Cru grapes from the Reims area are Pinot Noir, while those from the Cote des Blancs tend to be Chardonnay. Grand Cru Champagnes can be non-vintage, vintage, rosé, blanc de noirs (red grapes only), or blanc de blancs (Chardonnay only). Stylistically speaking, Champagnes (Grand Cru or otherwise) which are made of more Chardonnay tend to exhibit more of that biscuity, brioche character that so many people love about Champagne.
Look for Premier Cru Champagnes, which as you might guess indicates a Champagne made from Premier Cru village grapes! These are easier to come by because there are more than 40 Premier Cru status villages.
Aubrie Talarico is part of Eno’s team that answers your toughest questions or curiosities about wine, beer, spirits, sake, and cider. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and read the answers in Eno’s E-newsletter!
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