Grand Cru & Premier Cru – Differences Explained

Before we discuss the main differences between Grand Cru & Premier Cru, please see the family produced Champagne that we have available by clicking HERE.

Great summary of an article discussing the difference between Premier Cru and Grand Cru. Please read more if you would like information and Premier Cru and Grand Cru.

Cru Credentials

A few pointers about what exactly is Grand Cru and Premier Cru – so what is grand cru and premier cru exactly?

When a Champagne label denotes a Champagne as grand cru or premier cru, it must be or either grand cru or premier cru grapes respectively. If a bottle doesn’t have a cru label it is still allowed to contain wine from cru grapes of course.

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Grand Cru Champagne

So what is the cru bit exactly?

Cru Champagne Status

Ultimately when it comes to designating cru status it comes down to real estate. Each terroir within the Champagne region is ranked according to their status and their potential when it comes to their grape harvest, an interesting fact if you are thinking about choosing these fine Champagnes the next time you make a Champagne purchase,

If a village is regarded as having an optimal terroir their status will be in the higher echelons on the ranking system, and conversely a terroir that is less favourable will have a lower status, fairly self explanatory. But of course the better the status the higher the price, and this will affect the price of theChampagne as the price of these will increase too of course.

Grand Cru Villages

There are approximately 300 wine making villages in the Champagne area, and roughly 17 of these are labelled as grand cru, with a further 44 being categorised as premier cru. So they are fairly few and far between, so if you are looking for one of these fine wines, be sure to inrease your budget as the price will invariably be higher.

The Freezing of the Designations

Although having the status of the ‘cru’ sounds impressive the way they have been assigned has remained the same ever since the system first originated, and this applies to all vineyards and types of Champagne. Essentially the villages that were given this title 100 years ago still have this very same title.

A weakness of the system is that climate changes are not considered, neither are production procedures or indeed farming techniques – what this means it that their status is protected even though their wine may not have improved, or could even have got worse.

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Champagne drinking

Customised Champagne Presents

It is quite possible that when you buy personalised Champagne gifts from us the quality could well be better than these wines – but the perception is always that a premier cru or grand cru is higher quality. Vineyards have exactly the same circumstances, for example, there could be an amazing vineyard just on the other side of the border of the cru area, yet the chance of them being give cru status is zero.

With our personalised Champagne presents you don’t need to worry about the grand cru and premier cru status as we assure you we only serve the top Champagne brands at Say It With Champers.

Does a cru taste better?

Not necessarily, although it isn’t a hard rule.

Most producers of Champagne seem to agree that the premier and grand cru status is more a question of personal taste than a tangible quality that can be measured. Pierre Larmandier also agrees with this notion as he confirms that while the cru sites may well possess on average a better terroir, it may well be the case that a premier cru vineyard produces a better harvest than a grand cru vineyard.

If you click on our about us page you will see the traditional methods that go into making your our family produced Champagne which have similarites to the ones discussed above.

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Glasses of Champagne

Limiting Single Cru

Some producers of Champagne will also refuse to make their Champagnes by limiting them to a single cru. Their logic is to blend various grape types from a multitude of territories from the cru area.

An example of this includes Didier Gimonnet who actively goes out of his way to avoid Champagne that is labelled as a grand cru, he does this as he believes than they are better balanced when they are mixed with a premier cru.

The important word to note in the above paragraph is ‘balanced’, for many the cru designation beings a sense of association with specific flavours instead of levels of quality. Some experts argue that the steeper slopes that are found in the grand cru villages matures the grapes to a different level which results in a Champagne with greater character.

How to choose between them?

The great thing about Champagne is that you don’t actually have to. There will be no embarrassment from people who know their Champagne should you ‘choose the wrong one’. Even the Chef de Cave of Veuve Clicquot has publicly stated that the way the vineyards are designated isn’t a particularly well thought through system.

So all in all, regardless of whether you chose a premier cru or a grand cru, or a Champagne with no cru like our personalised Champagne presents, don’t let the classification rule your taste, let your preferences be the priority.

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Rose Champagne

Personalised Champagne Gifts

At Say It With Champers we have a wide range of personalised Champagne presents for you to browse. Whether you are looking for a Champagne wedding present, an anniversary gift, or a mother’s day or father’s day Champagne gift, we have a wide range for you to choose from. If you have any problems or questions, or any special requests please do not hesitate to get in touch. We want your personalised Champagne gifts to be exactly what you were hoping they would be.