See studies by S. Sutcliffe (1988), F. Nicholas (1989), M. Edwards (1994), M. McNie (1999), T. Stevenson (2003), G. Giger-Belair (2004), and D. and P. Kladstrup (2005).
Sparkling wine. Named for the site of its origin, the Champagne region of northeastern France, it is made from only three grapes: pinot and meunier (both black) and chardonnay (white). The juice from these grapes is initially fermented in stainless-steel vats. A mixture of wine, sugar, and yeast is added, and it is then transferred to pressure tanks for a second fermentation that yields carbon dioxide and effervescence. It is chilled, sweetened, bottled, and left to mature. It generally has a crisp, flinty taste that varies in degree of sweetness, depending on the type.
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Historical and cultural region, northeastern France. The terrain is interrupted by low hills and by the Marne River valley. It was an important medieval French county held by the houses of Vernandois, Blois, and Navarra. In the 12th and 13th centuries it was the site of six great trade fairs and was a banking centre for all of Europe. Conflicts between the counts of Champagne and the kings of France ended with the marriage (1286) of Joan of Navarra and Champagne to King Philip IV of France, and Champagne was united with the French crown in 1314. As a frontier region, it was frequently invaded; it was the site of fierce battles in World Wars I and II. The region is famous for its wines.
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The rail network includes the Paris–Strasbourg line, which follows the Marne Valley and serves Épernay, Châlons-en-Champagne, and Vitry-le-François. The LGV Est TGV line also connecting Paris and Strasbourg opened in 2007 and serves Reims with a train station in the commune of Bezannes.
The region's canals include the canal lateral to the Marne and canal from the Marne to the Rhine, which connects to the Marne at Vitry-le-François. These are petit gabarit canals. It is famous for its sparkling white wine (champagne).
The Vatry International Airport, primarily dedicated to air freight, has a runway 3650 m long, yet it is often unused. The airport is in a sparsely populated area just 150 km from Paris. Some people say it is a good candidate for transformation into a third Parisian airport. Les verts (the French green party) supported such a move because the resulting noise pollution would affect fewer people than an airport closer to Paris.
See also: Ardennes
Visitors often go to Champagne because of its history and its world-famous wine. However, their itineraries diverge when they discover the region's cultural heritage and its cuisine: some visit Troyes and its ancient houses, others visit Langres and its walls, and still others visit Épernay, Reims, or Colombey-les-deux-Églises.
The region contains some magnificent forests and lakes where one can enjoy hiking and water sports.