CHAMPAGNE CLASSIFICATION - THE CRUS
Champagne - The Crus
The classification of wines in the Champagne region is slightly different from that in other regions. In Bordeaux, wines are classified by different regions, then towns and villages within those regions. In Burgundy, the classification is based around different vineyard plots.
In Champagne, the wines are classified according to the Crus, or villages, in which the grapes are grown. There are two 'top' levels to look out for.
Grand Cru Champagnes
The really best Champagnes are grown in just 17 villages, or Crus. Only Champagne that is made with grapes grown in specific villages can be classed as Grand Cru Champagnes. The 17 villages included in the Grand Cru Classification are: Ambonnay, Avize, Ay, Beaumont sur Vesle, Bouzy, Chouilly, Cramant, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Louvois, Mailly Champagne, Oger, Oiry, Puisieux, Sillery, Tours sur Marne, Verzenay and Verzy.
Premier Cru Champagnes
The next level down after Grand Cru Champagnes, are the Premier Cru Champagnes. There are just over 43 Premier Cru villages, where grapes are grown that are used in Premier Cru Champagnes. There are changes from time to time as to which villages are allowed to be called Premier Crus, but currently there are 43.
The rest of the villages (over 300) make up the rest of the region of Champagne.