Situated north-east of Paris, Champagne is France's most northerly wine region. Being so far north the climate for growing grapes is marginal; grape vines require an annual mean temperature of 10 degrees Celsius just to survive and the average in Champagne is barely 10.5 degrees. A tightrope walk for Champagne growers to be sure, and not every variety will achieve the desired ripeness every year. This is one reason why a blend of grape varieties is usually used. Chardonnay giving fruit and elegance and the two red varieties, Pinot Noir and to a lesser extent Pinot Meunier giving backbone. But while these varieties are grown successfully elsewhere, only in the unique terroir of Champagne can they be said to have conquered the world!