The forgotten grape varieties of Champagne. What is not known to many in the public, in Champagne and for the production of champagne are allowed seven grape varieties. These are two black grape varieties and five white. For decades now, only the three grape varieties Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier have been cultivated and used almost exclusively for the production of Champagne. The background lies in the optimization of yields. Currently, 99.7% of the vineyards, in Champagne, are planted with these three grape varieties.
A few vintners have committed themselves to continue cultivating historic Champagne grape varieties and to preserve them for posterity. The four almost only historic grape varieties are all white wine grape varieties. They are Arbane, Petit Meslier, Pinot Blanc (Pinot Blanc) and Pinot Gris. The planted area for the four grape varieties is less than 0.3% of the total cultivated area, Champagne.
Nevertheless, the four white wine grape varieties have their right to exist. What wonderful champagnes can be created from these almost forgotten grape varieties is shown by the example of the single-varietal Pinot Blanc champagnes from the Fleury family, with the Fleury Notes Blanches Brut Nature, and from winemaker Noel Leblond-Lenoir, with the Cuvée Perle de Dizet. Moreover, Champagne Noel Leblond-Lenoir produces the Cuvée Arbane, a single-varietal Arbane champagne. Since these variants are single-varietal and usually single-vineyard champagnes, these champagnes are of course produced exclusively in very good years.
As the grape variety is only grown on a small vineyard, production is limited to a maximum of 600 bottles per year.
The Arbane grape variety is an autochthonous grape variety that grows exclusively in Champagne and here only in the Côte des Bar. Only three winemakers (as of 2019) produce varietal Arbane champagnes. But beware, who once had the pleasure to taste such a champagne, could fall for him.