There are hundreds of champagne producers in Champagne, here called houses. Some are huge, famous, world brands, others medium-sized family operations, and yet others cultivate smallholdings and make their own wine.
Champagne’s vicinity to Paris helps small operations sell their wines to private customers, particularly prior to the Christmas season. To many Parisian families, Champagne is an hour’s drive. On a Sunday the whole family can make the round trip comfortably, squeeze in a tasting at their familiar supplier, and even by a case or two.
Henriot, founded in 1808, is a medium-sized family-owned operation with a line of impeccably produced champagnes. The company owns 35 hectares of prime location vineyards in Avenay, Chouilly, Epernay, and Mareuil sur Ay.
In addition, Henriot formed partnerships with growers reputed to produce fine fruit.
Fruit from different vineyards and vineyard blocks are pressed near harvest locations. Thus the technical teams of winemakers have a wide palate of flavours to choose from, and blend to achieve better than satisfactory champagnes.
Henriot produces five champagnes – Brut Souverain, Blanc de Blancs, Rose, Cuvee des Enchanteleurs (always a vintage wine), and Demi-sec. In addition to the brands, in successful vintages vintage (millesime) wines are made.
Brut Souverain is composed of Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. This brilliant and light straw coloured wine possesses a fine perlage with notes of citrus and yellow fruit. In the mouth it is lively, fresh and balanced.
Blanc de Blancs is made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes grown on very chalky soil. Crystalline gold with green highlights in colour, and delicate numerous tiny bubbles. Honeysuckle, orange flower, lemon, dried fruit and almond flavours dominate on the palate. Intense, full and powerful flavours of brioche, quince jelly and acacia honey are noticeable.
Rose a blend of Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir, Salmon-pink, complex and fruity (citrus) and floral scents are evident. In the mouth fresh, harmonious and balanced with a deliciously long finish
Demi-sec (off dry) blended in equal proportions of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, plus a small amount of Pinot Meunier, to provide texture. Attractive yellow colour, fine perlage. Scents of white flowers waft out of the glass. In the mouth, candied peach and a mid-palate of honeyed acidity make this wine an excellent choice for toasts.
Cuvee Des Enchanteleurs Brut a blend of Chardonnay and pinot Noir from the top-rated vineyards in Verzy, Verzenay, Mesnil-sur-Oger, Avize and Chouilly. It is made only in exceptionally high quality harvests and according to Henriot traditions. Radiant yellow gold in colour with persistent tiny bubbles. Aromas of fresh citrus jump out of the glass. In the mouth the purity and excellence of wine become evident. It finishes well and with a long aftertaste.
Henriot vintage champagnes (1996 and 1998) plus more recent one are also highly recommended for those who appreciate the fine nuances of champagne. For orders log on to wodmandwiensandspirits.com