A Champagne for Burgundy Lovers: Henriot

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If you love the elegant richness of the greatest white wines from Burgundy, then you're going to love Henriot Champagne.

The Henriot style has always been dominated by Chardonnay from only the best Premier and Grand Cru vineyards.  The wines are blended solely with Pinot Noir, never with Pinot Meunier, which creates a style that is both exceptionally graceful and impressively concentrated.

Henriot has been owned by members of the same family since the 1700s, during seven generations, making them one of the oldest family-owned houses in Champagne.

Assembling Champagne is quite an art, especially the signature non-vintage Brut, as this must stay consistent to the 'house style' from year to year, no matter what weather conditions occur in the vineyards during the vintage.  This is the very reason that a Champagne will often be a 'non-vintage' - meaning the grapes will come from several different years - in order that only the best make it into the final product.  To get a better understanding of just how difficult a task this is, Henriot will have up to 60 tanks of vinified wines from 50 different plots of land that have to be tasted every other day over several months until the winemaker decides which ones will be used in the final blend - not an easy job!

However, in chatting to Henriot Cellar Master, Laurent Fresnet recently, the blending of the different cuvées is the least like work for him - it's his passion and pleasure, and with his talent for discerning aromas and flavours, it would seem it's also his calling.  From a young age Laurent was always interested in scents and even now, his trips to the grocery store are spent smelling the produce to constantly enrich his aroma vault.

This talent is extremely useful when it comes to blending their top of the line prestige cuvée - La Cuvée des Enchanteleurs. This is always a blend of 50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir sourced only from Grand Cru vineyards and only produced in the very best vintages.  The most recent release is the 1998.  Since then only a few years have been deemed ideal enough to produce des Enchanteleurs, but you won't see these on the shelves any time soon as they age the wine in the bottle for between 10-15 years.

The elegant Chardonnay-led style of Henriot makes the wines a great match with food. We don't often think about pairing Champagne with a meal, but it can work very well - especially a rosé with salmon or a demi-sec with dessert. Salut!