In short, the concept of “Cru” applies to an entire commune in the Champagne region, which is not the case in other French wine regions. For example, in the Bordeaux region, a Cru is associated with a terroir or a Château, in Burgundy, the Cru can be a lieu-dit (named locality).
The Cru, however we understand it, is obviously going to be different depending on its location and the soil type. It is also a guarantee of quality, which is why we have what is known as a “Cru” ladder.
The Cru ladder in the Champagne region
Historically, the communes were classified into three main categories according to a Cru ladder that ranged from 100% to 80% depending on the quality of the grapes produced. The villages classified as “Grand Cru” were rated at 100% and the villages classified as “Premier Cru”, between 90 and 99%. Today, out of 300 winegrowing communes, 17 are classified as “Grand Cru” and 44 as “Premier Cru”. This ladder was also used to set the selling price of a kilo of grapes to the négociants.
“Grand Cru” and “Premier Cru”
The Grand Crus represent 14% of the Champagne AOC production area: 4,000 hectares of vines out of a total of 34,300 hectares. These are highly prized terroirs, 11 of which are located in the Montagne de Reims and 6 in the Côte des Blancs.
The 44 communes classified as “Premier Cru” represent nearly 5,000 hectares of planted vines, i.e., a little more than 17% of the total AOC.
The CHAMPAGNE DE SAINT-GALL wines come from an exceptional terroir, most of which lies in the Côte des Blancs and the remainder in the Montagne de Reims and the Vallée de la Marne. Among the “Grand Crus” vineyards, we have Aÿ, Ambonnay, Bouzy in the Montagne de Reims and Avize, Oger, Le-Mesnil-sur-Oger and Cramant in the Côte des Blancs.
Our range includes several champagnes made exclusively from grapes classified as “Grand Cru”: you can view them here !
The “Premier Crus” are Bergères-les-Vertus, Vertus and Grauves (joined UNION CHAMPAGNE from the 2021 harvest) in the Côte des Blancs; Villers-Marmery in the Montagne de Reims and Cumières in the Vallée de la Marne.
Our Le Tradition Premier Cru and Le Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru are the flagship champagnes of our “Premier Cru” range and you can view them here !