The region of Champagne lies 90 miles NE of Paris in Northern France. It has two main towns of Reims and Epernay north and south respectively of the river Marne. The combination of the chalk soils, marginal climate, champagne method secondary fermentation and grape varieties create the quality of Champagne. The Montagne de Reims is the most northerly sub district famed for the bouquet and acidity of its Pinot Noir. The Valle de la Marne is situated to the west producing generous and full flavoured Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. The Cote de Blanc lies further south, known for the quality of its Chardonnay, lending finesse to the final cuvee. Furthest south is the Aube, an underrated area for fulsome Pinot Noir. The small houses and growers offer excellent quality and value. Gallimard, Devaux, de Venoge and Lallier are all particularly recommended.