Joseph Henriot is one of Champagne’s most powerful men. After having been the boss of Veuve Clicquot for many years, he returned to Henriot in 1994. Today the firm is run by his modest and extremely competent son, Stanislas Henriot. Winemaker is Laurent Fresnet.
The Henriot family were established as growers in Champagne by 1640 they started their own Champagne house in 1808. The firm’s strength has always been the high-class vineyards they owned in Côte des Blancs. Today they only own twenty-five hectares of vineyards in Chouilly, Avize, and Épernay. The total proportion of Chardonnay obtained from the firm’s fine contracts with growers is more than 20 percent; it dominates the house-style with its clean, elegant, fresh citrus fruit.
The Henriot family has always had strong ties with Charles Heidsieck, and still shares offices and wineries. With Clicquot, on the other hand, they share a cellar. The firm’s biggest export market is Switzerland, where Henriot’s dry, classic, slightly discreet Champagnes are a great success. The firm did well at the Millennium Tasting. Personally, I like these elegant classics more and more. Some of the most drinkable wines in the world has got the Henriot Label. Very close to 5 stars.
IN THE GLASS? HENRIOT ‘MILLÉSIME VINOTHÈQUE’ 1989 | 55PN 45CH | Reims | RJpoints 95(95) | TASTING NOTE ‘It is a never-ending piece of theatre to witness the transformation that certain champagnes go through when they are allowed to remain as a chrysalis for a few extra years in the cellars of the producers, before arriving on the dining-table of the consumer. This 89 is a highly normal if very good champagne in its usual garb. Now, as a late release and like a great sportsman who has been pumped up at a training camp, it is so beautiful that it takes one’s breath away. The aroma is a blend of the toasted, smoky 76 and the elegant 79. In the middle of the toastiness there is a Charles Heidsieck-like orange complexity to luxuriate in. The aftertaste is not especially long and the concentration could have been greater, but one’s enjoyment is nearly maximal on condition that one may take great gulps! More serious and more meanly ascetic in a slowly developing Jeroboam. Last time a lot of similarities with the mushrom notes of Bollinger RD.’
IN THE SPEAKERS? KENT ‘MANNEN I DEN VITA HATTEN (16 ÅR SENARE)