Like most champagne enthusiasts, I hold some heartfelt sentiment for certain villages in Champagne which coax out qualities in chardonnay, pinot noir or meunier that I particularly like.

Ay or Bouzy, for example, are often cited for their rich and structurally significant pinot noir. But for me, the grand cru village of Ambonnay offers something particularly fine when it comes to the same varietal.

Flanking the south-eastern edge of the Montagne de Reims, heading south of Reims, Ambonnay is nestled between neighbouring Bouzy (to the west), Vaudemange (to the east), and Trepail (to the north). The latter two, facing more clearly to the east, is where pinot noir territory gives way to chardonnay.

By contrast, Ambonnay’s mostly southerly exposure makes it a prime location for pinot noir, although chardonnay is grown there too, constituting a little under 20 percent of plantings out of a total 387 hectares. However, unlike Bouzy which also faces south, parts of Ambonnay slope to the south-east and the lay of the land is more undulating. It’s this difference that makes Ambonnay good for pinot noir as the slight easterly exposure moderates the ripening process, resulting in particularly elegant wines with a distinct freshness.

Read the full story in ISSUE NO. 2 of VINE & BUBBLE Magazine.

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WORDS  | Sara Underdown

PHOTOGRAPHY  | Victor Pugatschew

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