Various soil types, but mostly argilo-calcareous
The camapanian soils, found in the Grande and Petite Champagne are fairly shallow soils of clay and limestone on top of soft chalk from the Cretaceous period. From the surface down, the limestone content is very high.
Montmorillonite clay provides these fertile soils with good structure and water reserves.
Despite their shallow depth, they do not suffer from lack of water, as the sub-soil acts as a giant sponge through which water may slowly rise as the summer dryness increases.
The word “champagne”, in Old French, “champaigne”—which comes from the Latin “campania”—means country or open field (as opposed to wooded areas).
A large part of the Fins Bois appellation is covered with shallow soils of clay and limestone called “groies” that are similar to those of the Champagne crus, except for their red colour and hard stones from the Jurassic period.
Clay in the “Pays bas” district
As the insect is not fond of water, the heavy, humid soils of the “Pays bas” saved a small portion of Cognac’s vineyards during the phylloxera crisis in 1875.
Clay and flint
Soils to the northwest of Cognac are composed mostly of clay and flint stones, resulting from the decarbonatation of limestone. A large portion of the vineyards in Charente-Maritime are composed of loamy soil called “doucins”.
Sandy soils can be found in coastal areas, in certain valleys and in the entire southern portion of the vineyards. This sand was brought down from the Massif Central mountain range by erosion. In these areas, vineyards are dispersed among other crops, grazing fields and pine and chestnut forests.