The Cru’s of Champagne

Date:april 14 2011

About Champagne and Sparkling Wine
Best wine supplier in Philippines discusses wine related topics

The average quality of grapes is determined by the following factors:

* The position of the vineyard with regard to the sun. The ideal situation for the grapes is to have much sunlight in the morning but not too much on the hottest part of the day (but then again not too little).
* The angle of the slope. The slope may, with regard to the light, neither be too gentle nor to steep.
* The structure of the soil. Some particular types of grapes thrive better on a particular soil than others.
* Minerals have to be present in a proper quantity.
* The soil should be porous but not too porous; the vines should be able to extract sufficient water and nutritients from the soil.

From 1900 onwards, some punters with a penchant for statistics started to roam through the region while tasting grapes, drilling for soil samples and measuring hours of sunshine which resulted in a classification of vineyards. If all factors are satisfactory the vineyard will get a score of a 100%. These are called Grand Cru Vineyards.

All this is terribly complicated and therefore in the wine jargon all kinds of notions are mixed up. People talk about Grand Cru grapes when actually they mean grapes that were grown on a vineyard that has been classified as a Grand Cru. Also there are people who talk about a Grand Cru Region or a Grand Cru place. They really don’t exist. There are places (The north-east and the south-eastside of the Montagne de Reims) where there are a number of vineyards that have been given the Grand Cru classification.
Just for the record: funnily enough the TGV normally runs through France in a straight line but as it happens our high speed line runs neatly just around the Champagne vineyards. Rumour has it that the French railways had to fork out 10 million Euros per hectare to compensate the winegrowers in order to lay down their line from Paris to Reims. Now that is a different story than that of the Dutch Betuwe train line.

In order to keep this little article readable I will happily participate in the Grand Cru pollution and will also talk about Grand Cru grapes and Grand Cru places.

The basic quality of the vineyards is expressed in percentages and to make things easy for us a number of percentages are rearranged in so-called cru’s

* Grand cru (100%)
* Premier cru (90 – 99%)
* Other cru (tot 89%)

In theory, vineyards that have been classified as Grand Cru vineyards supply better grapes than Premier Cru vineyards. If a Champagne is made with Grand Cru or Premier Cru grapes this is often mentioned in the name of the Champagne (Cuvé Brut Premier for instance).
Mind you: Premier Cru does not say everything. What you need to know from which village or rather from which vineyard the grapes originate. There really is notable difference between 99% cru and 90% cru. Grapes that are classified as Cru Normal are the lowest quality of the three. You will find them chiefly (but not exclusively) in the cheaper Champagnes.

Just to make things less complicated. Most of the big brands (like Roederer, Cristal or Krug) do not mention on the label that exclusively Grand Cru grapes are used. You ought to know that these wines are made from Grand Cru grapes.

The Champagne region is divided in Marne, Aisne and Aube. (See region). As rule of thumb one can say that grapes from the Aube are of a lesser quality than those from the Aisne and Marne. None of the big boys uses grapes from the Aube for their Quality Champagnes. Grapes from other regions can be used for bubblies, but in that case it is forbidden to call the bubbles Champagne or even methode Champanoise.

Cru Perc. Aantal Plaatsen Aantal Producenten

Grand-cru 100% 17 635
Premier-cru 99% 2 33
95% 10 281
94% 6 168
93% 5 102
90% 17 268
40 852
Cru-Normal 89% 6 194
88% 5 205
87% 16 110
86% 27 203
85% 38 308
84% 39 315
83% 27 146
82% 13 11
80% 101 615
272 2107
Total 329 3594

For the dedicated Champagne buff there is a survey available of all villages in the Champagne region and the average basic quality (cru) of the vineyards around that village. Attention: The quality between the types of grapes may differ from village to village. This survey may come in handy when dealing with an unknown champagne of which you happen to be aware from which place it originates. However the winemaker who succeeds in making bad champagne from 95% premier cru grapes would have to be an absolute oaf. .

If you happen upon a Blanc-des-Blancs from a village that is not mentioned in the list of Champagne villages you can be sure that this is not Champagne (take my word for it). Some other blokes think it is good policy to put the name of Reims on their labels. Now don’t you think that the municipal gardens of Reims are teeming with high quality grapes…. There are only 17 villages boasting Grand Cru vineyards and 635 producers that exclusively make Grand Cru Champagnes. Moreover there are only 40 villages with Premier Cru vineyards (with a total of 852 producers).

Another jolly trick is pulled by producers who own some vineyards in the Grand Cru. They happily mix the Grand Cru grapes with Premier Cru or other Cru grapes. In their glossy brochures they mention of course in which Grand Cru region their vineyards lie but conveniently forget to mention that 80% of the used grapes come from elsewhere. You’ll be amazed how many of the big and better known houses are involved in this tricky business. In all honesty I must tell you that their showpieces are purely made of their Grand Cru grapes of course and that can be remarked in the taste as well as the price.

Another thing: If the label mentions a name it is always the name of the village where the producer is established. Which is no guarantee whatsoever that he does not buy his grapes from a neighbour who owns a vineyard from significant lesser quality. But in that case he is not allowed to use the Cru nomination of his own village, But there is nobody to stop him from telling that his Champagne comes from “La Misère, 100% Grand Cru”. just to mention a name.


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Favorites of frequent diners, foodies and wine lovers are steaks, Wagyu, Foie Gras, lobsters, venison, kangaroo loin, osso buco, veal chops, Kurabuto pork, escargots and a good selection of cheeses to enjoy with fine Vintage port and Sauternes. Cuban cigars such as Monte Cristo, Cohiba, Upmann, Partagas, Romeo Julieta and Trinidad are also available in the Magnum Room which is a wine bar and lounge for before and after dinner relaxation. A good selection of Armagnac, Cognac, Single Malt, Vodka and other liquor is served in addition to the wine vintage wines some served by the glass.

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Getting to this fine dining restaurant of Angeles City Clark Freeport Zone Pampanga Philippines
How to get to this fine-dining restaurant in Clark Philippines? Once you get to Clark Freeport, go straight until you hit Mimosa. After you enter Mimosa, stay on the left on Mimosa Drive, go past the Holiday Inn and Yats Restaurant (green top, independent 1-storey structure) is on your left. Just past the Yats Restaurant is the London Pub.

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