The wine of the month

Champagne Henriot, Blanc de Blancs, Brut, NV

4,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP

December 2021: Champagne Henriot, Blanc de Blancs, Brut, NV (49 EUR/56 USD in Sweden), white dry sparkling wine, Champagne, France, 4,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (90 points of 100 points) (2021-12-07 by Nenad Jelisic)

If you want to celebrate the New Year's Eve with more taste and complexity in your mouth or celebrate something else big (wedding, birthday, etc.) or if you want to reward yourself and your loved one after a hard working week then you should drink this very good Blanc de Blancs (100% Chardonnay) champagne. Here we are talking about a tasty, fresh, concentrated, mineral and complex champagne. Champagne Henriot Blanc de Blancs Brut NV has a fresh, mineral and creamy aroma of citrus fruits, white peaches, green apples, minerals, fresh flowers, honeydew melon and freshly baked brioche bread. Its taste has a fresh, mineral, complex, creamy and rich taste of citrus fruits, green apples, minerals, honeydew melon and freshly baked brioche bread. To all this comes to a really long aftertaste. That this champagne is so tasty, concentrated and complex can be explained by the fact that as much as 40% of reserve wine, i.e. wine from the producer's previous vintages, and also a small part of the producer's prestige champagne Cuvée 38 are used to produce it, which is unique to champagne in this price range. As much as NJ Wines knows, only Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV, which costs about the same, and Krug Grand Cuvée, which costs three times more, uses the same amount of reserve wine.

This champagne should be drunk as an aperitif, but goes great with baked crab meat with creamy cheese sauce (not too tasty cheese) or with freshly cooked crab (especially with the buttery parts of crab) or with boiled lobster or with grilled sole with white wine sauce and small cooked potatoes or with a classic shrimp sandwich. It is really good already now, but it will be developed for at least another 5 years. It should be drunk at 8°C, if possible, from real champagne glasses from Orrefors, Kosta Boda, Spiegelau or Riedel.

Most of the grapes for this champagne come from Premier Cru- and Grand Cru-villages in the Côte des Blancs, especially from Mesnil-sur-Oger and Avize. The soil on which the grapes grow consists of calcareous soil (chalk, marl and limestone). This type of soil provides good drainage and also explains why this champagne has a distinct mineral aroma and taste. Two different chalks occur: Belemnite chalk and Micraster chalk, where Belemnite chalk, which dominates in most of the Grand Cru-villages, has more lime and thanks to it gives the grapes higher acidity. The chalk acts as a natural reservoir (it holds 300-400 litres of water per cubic meter), which gives the vines enough water even in the driest summers. The effort, which is required from the vines to utilize this water, puts the vines at a moderate water stress during the growing season, helps the grapes to achieve the delicate balance between ripeness, acidity and taste.

This wine is made according to the traditional method, which means that the first fermentation is the same as for ordinary white wine and that when the first fermentation and the malolactic fermentation (the second fermentation) are finished, the wine is moved and some sugar and yeast are added, so-called liquer de tirage, and bottled. In the bottle, a new fermentation begins (the third fermentation) that creates carbon dioxide. When the wine had finished fermenting, it is left in contact with its yeast sediment for between 48 and 60 months. When the aging is complete, the bottles are placed with the neck downwards, for an inclination of 45 degrees, in wooden racks and then the bottles are gradually tilted to an angle of 90 degrees. Now is the time to start to turn the bottles (remuage). Then the collected yeast sediment in the bottle neck is frozen and ejected (dégorgement). Now, the bottle is filled with a little new wine and a small amount of sugar (dosage), 8 grams of sugar per litre, the bottle is shaken to mix the new wine and the sugar with the wine and the wine (champagne) is ready to be corked and sold.

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