Traditionally, three cultivars are used:

  • Chardonnay: for acidity, freshness, aging potential
  • Pinot Noir: for depth, complexity, structure
  • Pinot Meunier: for fruity flavour

But others are also used including; Gamay, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Xarello, Macabeo, Chenin Blanc.

In Champagne, the grapes are harvested at sugar levels of 60 - 75° Oe, with acidity of 12 - 18 g/l tartaric and pH of between 2.9 – 3.2. But this varies according to the varietal & winemaking method. It is important to avoid herbaceous notes or too much varietal aroma when making traditional method sparkling wine. Harvesting should be as gentle as possible in order to avoid colour and phenolic extraction, and is always carried out by hand with the fruit collected into small trays (< 50 kg).