Scale of growths in Champagne
Champagne labels rarely mention the years the grapes were grown, as this is part of their strict pricing system called "vintage scale". The percentage determines the price of the grapes and is only used to establish how much a vineyard was paid for their grapes.
Out of a total of 321 villages that produce champagne, only 17 villages have the privilege of being classified as 100% crus (of the basic price fixed for the whole region) and can claim the appellation "Grand Cru".
44 villages are classified from 99% to 90% and have the right to name "premier cru".
The grapes, the vintages and the wines of the highest quality are made from 100% crus. This classification is not theoretical but conditions the quality of the grapes, and the best wines and vintages are made from 100% of vintages.
In 1935, the classification was modified to prevent Champagne vineyard owners from lowering prices by requiring a minimum purchase of 50% grapes. Since then, some changes have been made to the percentages of these Champagne classifications of crus. The minimum purchase was raised to 80%, so that this classification shows 3 categories: Cru de Champagne (AOC) of 80-89%, Premier Cru of 90-90%, and 100% Grand Cru.
17 Grand Crus classified at 100%
They cover 14% of the total surface of the appellation. They are found in the following communes:
Ambonnay, Avize, Aÿ, Beaumont-sur-Vesle, Bouzy, Chouilly, Cramant, Louvois, Mailly-Champagne, Mesnil-sur-Oger, Oger, Oiry, Puisieulx, Sillery, Tours-sur-Marne, Verzy, Verzenay.
44 Premiers Crus classified from 99 % to 90 %
(Communes or part of communes). They represent about 17,6 % of the total surface, that is to say about 5000 ha.
Avenay, Bergères-les-Vertus, Bezannes, Billy-le-Grand, Bisseuil, Chamery, Champillon, Chign-les-Roses, Chouilly (pinot noir), Coligny (chardonnay), Cormontreuil, Coulommes-la-Montagne, Cuis, Cumières, Dizy, Ecueil, Etrechy (chardonnay), Grauves, Hautvillers, Jouy-les-Reims, Les Mesneux, Ludes, Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Montbré, Mutigny, Pargny-les-Reims, Pierry, Rilly-la-Montagne, Sacy, Sermiers, Taissy, Tauxières, Tours-sur-Marne (chardonnay), Trépail, Trois Puits, Vaudemanges, Vertus, Villedommange, Villeneuve-Renneville, Villers-Allerand, Villers-aux-Noeuds, Villers-Marmery, Voipreux, Vrigny.
237 crus classified from 89% to 80%
(All other communes). They correspond to about 68.4% of the total surface of the vineyard.