Question About Cru

What does it mean when a Champagne is made from 40 to 50 crus?

Answer From Expert Roger Bohmrich MW

This is a very interesting question as it refers to the complex procedures which define a true Champagne (that is, from the eponymous region of France and nowhere else). The word "cru" appears in the terminology of several French wine regions and tends to indicate a specific quality tier. In Champagne, to make things more challenging to understand, cru is also synonymous with an individual village within the region, of which there are 320. There is also a quality hierarchy: 42 of these villages are ranked as premier cru, and 17 as grand cru. The grapes for most Champagnes are purchased by houses and do not come either from their own estate or an individual vineyard. Rather, they are selected from multiple villages (or, in other words, crus). Some producers argue that their Champagnes are more complex because the raw material represents a multiplicity of vineyard origins, and there is certainly a case to be made for this idea.

About The Expert

Roger has enjoyed a lengthy career in the wine trade as an importer and retailer, and at present he is an educator, speaker and consultant. He set up and managed Millesima USA, a New York merchant affiliated with a leading European company. Previously, he served as senior executive of importers Frederick Wildman & Sons. In recent years, Roger has judged wine competitions in Argentina, Turkey and China. Roger became one of America's first Masters of Wine in 1993.

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