"today the whole (champagne) vineyard is planted with three, Pinot Noir, Meunier and Chardonnay" - Oxford Companion to Wine
All the reference guides I have say that
Champagne can be made from only these three varieties. But its isn't so. In July 2002 I visited Francis Boulard at his winery in Reims to taste - and buy - his luscious wines. Francis knows of my interest in unusual varieties and started by pouring me a glass of this wine. He asked me to guess what it was. I could only say it was made from white grapes, but it tasted unlike any 'blanc de blanc' I'd previously tasted, being even softer, like a vanilla mousse. It was made from Arbane, a variety I'd never previously heard of.
Over thirty years ago French wine laws limited the vines that could be planted in Champagne to three varieties - Pinot Noir, Meunier and Chardonnay - but vineyards that had older traditional varieties were allowed to continue making Champagne with them.
This is a varietal Arbane from old vines (vieilles vignes). It tastes wonderful, so soft and delicate, like feathery powder snow with a refreshing peppery uplift.
Many thanks to M. Francis Boulard, owner/winemaker of Raymond Boulard Champagne in Reims.