The vineyards in the northern part of the Champagne region are often sliced into three distinct areas: the Côte des Blancs for Chardonnay, the Marne Valley for Meunier and the Montagne de Reims for Pinot Noir.
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The first two can be neatly surmised: the Côte des Blancs is a single, chalky cuesta – a hill with a steep face on one side and a gentle slope on the other – that can be driven north to south in 20 minutes. The Marne Valley is a winding valley planted with an overwhelming majority of one grape variety and with hardly a grain of chalk to play with. The Montagne de Reims, though, is different.