Champagne

Champagne

[sham-peyn]
Champagne, Philippe de: see Champaigne.
Champagne, historic region and former province, NE France, consisting mainly of Aube, Marne, Haute-Marne, and Ardennes depts., which form that modern region of Champagne-Ardenne. The Champagne region is almost, but not fully, coextensive with the former provinces of Champagne and Brie. Abutting in the west on the Paris basin, Champagne is a generally arid, chalky plateau, cut by the Aisne, Marne, Seine, Aube, and Yonne rivers. Agriculture, except in the Ardennes dept., is mostly confined to the valleys. Crests divide the plateau from northwest to southeast into several areas. In the east, bordering on Lorraine, is the so-called Champagne Humide [wet Champagne], largely agricultural, and the Langres Plateau. In the center is the Champagne Pouilleuse [Champagne badlands], a bleak and eroded plain, traditionally used for sheep grazing; however, Troyes and Châlons-en-Champagne, its principal towns, are located in fertile valleys and are centers of the wool industry. A narrow strip along the westernmost crest of Champagne is extremely fertile. The area around Reims and Epernay and the SE Aube dept. furnishes virtually all of the champagne wine exported by France. Reims and Troyes are the center of the area's textile industry. The St. Dizier area is a metallurgy center. Other fertile districts are around Rethel and Sens. Champagne's central and open location made it a major European battlefield from the invasion by Attila's Huns, whom Actius defeated at Châlons in 451, to World War I, which left vast areas scorched. Yet the same geographic position gave the towns of Champagne a commercial prosperity in direct contrast to the bleakness of the countryside. In the Middle Ages, Champagne was famous for its great fairs, held at Troyes (the capital), Provins, Lagny-sur-Marne, and Bar-sur-Aube. Merchants from all over western Europe met six times each year. Their laws regulating trade had a profound influence on later commercial customs; the troy weight for precious metals is still used. Prosperity was accompanied by cultural brilliance, culminating in the work of Chrétien de Troyes and in the Gothic cathedral at Reims. The county of Champagne had passed to the counts of Blois in the 11th cent.; the main branch held Champagne after 1152. The domain was greatly extended; large parts of France, including Blois, Touraine, and Chartres, were dependent upon the Champagne counts. Most famous of the counts was Thibaut IV, who in 1234 inherited the crown of Navarre from his uncle Sancho VII. In 1286 the daughter and heir of Henry III, Count of Champagne and King of Navarre, married Philip IV of France. When their son ascended the French throne (as Louis X) in 1314, Champagne was incorporated into the royal domain. The bishoprics of Reims and Langres were added later. Champagne declined in prosperity thereafter; however, the enduring popularity of its sparkling wine, which was developed at the end of the 17th cent., somewhat revitalized its economy. More recently, efforts have been made to reforest the area and reclaim it from erosion.
champagne, sparkling white wine made from grapes grown in the old French province of Champagne. The best champagne is from that part of the Marne valley whose apex is Reims, the center of the industry. Champagne was reputedly developed by a monk, Dom Pérignon, in the 17th cent. It is a mixture of pinot noir and chardonnay grapes and is named for the vintners and shippers responsible for each blend. After the first fermentation the wine is blended; it undergoes a secondary fermentation, then is drawn off into bottles reinforced to withstand high internal pressure, and is sweetened to induce further fermentation. The carbonic acid retained in the bottle after the final fermentation renders champagne sparkling. The wine is matured in the labyrinthine tunnels of the old chalk quarries of Reims. Any sediment that forms is collected on the cork by tilting the bottle neck downward and frequently rotating it by hand. After fermentation comes the dégorgement process, whereby the neck of the bottle is frozen and the cork is removed; the lump of frozen sediment shoots out, propelled by the pressure in the bottle. The space left is filled with the proper dosage of cane sugar dissolved in wine and usually fortified with cognac. Brut champagne is theoretically not sweetened; extra dry champagne, very lightly. Sparkling American wine is sometimes called champagne.

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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Champagne-Ardenne is one of the 26 regions of France.

history and geogaphy Champagne-Ardenne is a region located in the northeast of France, bordering Belgium. It consists of four departments: Aube, Ardennes, Haute-Marne, and Marne.

Its rivers, all of which flow west, include the Seine, the Marne, and the Aisne.

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

Economy

Businesses

Food-processing

Demographics

The population of Champagne-Ardenne has been in steady decrease since 1982 due to a rural exodus. With 1.3 million people and a density of 52/km², it is one of France's least populated regions.

Tourism

Champagne-Ardenne has the following:

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.

Major communities

See also

External links

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