Since 1797, Maison Philippe Prié has been producing top-quality wine in the Côte des Bar region of Champagne. All their cuvées are elaborated from just Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, in the tradition of Champagne masters, whose secret lay in the alliance of Pinot Noir’s powerful structure and Chardonnay’s finesse and elegance. Fabienne Prié took over operations in the late ’90s, adding a personal touch to the wines, to much acclaim.
The Côte des Bar marks the transition between the plains of Champagne and the rolling slopes of Burgundy. From the Côte des Blancs, it is some 2 hours south of Epernay. The largest city near the Côte des Bar and that of the Aube department in which it lies is Troyes, once abundant with textile factories but now perhaps most known for its high quality andouillette, an aromatic sausage made from pig’s intestines. Just south of the Côte des Bar, one finds the small village of Chaource, from which the creamy, buttery and delicious cow’s milk cheese takes its name. Less than an hour southwest lies the northern tip of Burgundy and the town of Chablis.
The soil in the Côte des Bar is closer to that of Chablis — Kimmeridgian marl topped by Portlandian limestone — than it is to the vineyards near Epernay and Reins, which is composed mostly by Cretaceous chalk. Unlike in Chablis, however, producers in the Aube specialize in Pinot Noir. Humid Atlantic influences coming from the west and continental influences with higher temperatures are two factors that help Pinot Noir ripen extremely well in the area. In fact, Pinot accounts for almost 90% of vines planted in the region and strongly influences the character of its champagnes. Nevertheless, the Côte des Bar has diversified terroirs. Specific soil types, local climate conditions, slope and orientation are extremely varied, producing separate micro-climates. Each vigneron needs to be fully attentive to his own terroir in order to make the most of it.
“The spotlight is shining on the Aube, and its primary growing area, the Côte des Bar, whose distinctive, highly sought wines have caught the attention of Champagne lovers the world over.”
-The New York Times 7/12/11