On Wednesday night, I had the chance to try the relatively unknown champagne house Henriot at the Epernay champagne bar in Manchester. Three bottles were on offer to sample, with hosts Cyriaque and Joelle giving a speech on the history of Henriot and what to expect from their Rose Brut, Brut Souverain and Blanc De Blancs.
A little history first,
Native to Lorraine, the Henriot family relocated to Champagne around 1640. In Reims, the Henriots slowly acquired vineyards as well as the acquisition of the Hôtel des Douanes and the Fermes Royales. Nicolas Henriot married Apolline Godinot. Together, they developed a fascination for the culture of the vine and production of wines of quality.
After the death of Nicolas Henriot, Apolline Henriot decided to continue to develop the vineyards and refine the style of the wines. The 33 year-old set forth her name and founded Veuve Henriot Ainé in 1808. Apolline sold her wines both in France and abroad and became a huge success with royalty, concluding with Henriot being declared Official Supplier to the Imperial and Royal Court of Austria.
The vineyards grew bigger when Paul Henriot, nephew of Ernest Henriot, married Marie Marguet, who owned vines in the Côtes des Blancs.
Once Apolline passed away, the family legacy continued with her grandson Ernest, where in 1875, Ernest enlarged the company’s holdings and developed the House. Etienne Henriot, son of Paul, who had trained as an agronomist, took over the management of the House. With great vision, he expanded the house’s viticultural domain, which then covered nearly 110 hectares (275 acres).
1957 saw the death of Etienne Henriot, and his son, Joseph Henriot, who was also a trained agronomist, gradually taking over the reins of the family company from 1962.
So with a little history explained to us, our first champagne of the night was poured, Rose Brut (all prices are straight from the Epernay champagne menu).
Henriot Rose Brut – £58
Made up of 58% Pinot Noir grapes and 42% Chardonnay grapes, a fruit nose dominates the senses with citrus and floral scents making their way through slowly. The palate enjoys a light, salivating fruityness, with floral and hints of spice mixing well to create a long-lasting flavour.
Brut Souverain – £46
Created with a balance of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, the nose has a hit of boldness, moving quickly into a refreshing citrus and floral flavour mix. Fresh bread was also detected. A taste of apricot and oranges lay well on the palate, with vanilla and cherry subtly making an appearance near the end.
Blanc De Blancs – £58
The sole use of Chardonnay grapes creates a sophisticated blend of fruit, floral and spice on the nose. The honey, vanilla and almond attack the palate to lay down a soft and smooth finish with lingering vanilla scents.
My personal favourite? Blanc De Blancs. And for £58, I’ve found a champagne worth splashing out for! For the same price, the Rose Brut is also a good shout, while the Brut Souverain, albeit not my personal favourite out of the three, is still a great champagne to drink.
The Henriot range is not readily available in supermarkets, however you can purchase the three above champagnes here. Or better still, get yourself down to Epernay in Manchester where you can enjoy the range in comfort and style. Give me a shout, I’ll see you there!
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