Founded in 1808, Champagne Henriot is one of the few remaining family-owned Champagne houses, with more than 200 years of independence and heritage. Known for its luminous Chardonnay-driven style, Champagne Henriot today introduces Cuvée Hemera 2005, the first prestige cuvée produced by Chef de Caves, Laurent Fresnet, and Vintage Brut 2008, which marks the house’s bicentenary with its 200th vintage offering. Both new wines will be available nationwide in the U.S. beginning this month.
Since 2006, Fresnet has overseen Champagne Henriot’s small-scale production, which includes 87 acres of family-owned and cultivated vineyards and a talented group of dedicated growers. Guided by the pursuit of the purest expression of Chardonnay grapes selected from the finest terroirs in the Côte des Blancs and Montagne de Reims, Fresnet has been recognized by the International Wine Challenge in 2018, earning the Lens Evans Trophy for excellence and consistency, and in 2015 and 2016, when he received the title of “Sparkling Winemaker of the Year.” Each Champagne Henriot cuvée is mostly sourced from Premier and Grand Cru Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, while a propensity towards low-dosage also helps to preserve the purity of the exceptional fruit, and a higher percentage of Chardonnay in each blend results in the luminous house style that defines Champagne Henriot.
Cuvée Hemera 2005 is a homage to the Greek Goddess of daylight, Hemera and Greek mythology painted on the walls of the Champagne Henriot house. An equal proportion of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Grand Cru vineyards are blended with four other prestige vineyards in Champagne to create the Cuvée Hemera 2005: Chardonnay grapes from Chouilly, Avize and Mesnil-sur-Oger, and Pinot Noir grapes were from the north of the Montagne de Reims, from Mailly Champagne, Verzy and Verzenay – each representing the unique terroir that produces exceptional grapes. The character of these prestigious vineyards reveals itself as an intense balance and freshness.
“Slowly ripening over time, the finest terroirs bestow Cuvée Hemera with the luxury of light and time, enhancing the work that together man and nature have created,” says Fresnet. “After 12 years of aging in the darkness and silence of our cellars, this champagne bears the finesse and liveliness of spring, while the mineral freshness of the finest Chardonnay heightens the delicious accents of the very best Pinot Noir.”
Cuvée Hemera 2005
(50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir – 100% Grand Cru; minimum aged for 12 years on lees; 5g/L dosage; $199 SRP)
Yellow and gold-tinged in appearance, this wine offers full-flavored fruitiness, notes of apricot, stewed citrus fruits and pate de fruit on the nose. Roasted notes are peppered with a toasty and acacia honey-like quality. On the palate, Pinot Noir picks up the mantel, offering a velvety structure and delicate intensity. Fruit flavors come to the forefront, with notes of fresh and slightly candied citrus fruit. The aromatic intensity continues on the palate with subtle, honeyed and toasted notes. The resolutely low dosage plays its part in retaining and enhancing the natural beauty of its primary ingredients. Can be enjoyed immediately as an aperitif or kept for 5-10 years in the safety of a dark cellar to allow the Champagne to further flourish over time.
Also produced from the Côte des Blancs vineyards, the Vintage 2008 Brut harvest illuminates Champagne Henriot’s elegant style and the six years spent in the cellars naturally enhanced the blend’s quality. It is Fresnet’s first Champagne Henriot vintage champagne that he has overseen from vineyard to bottle in its entirety.
Vintage 2008 Brut
(50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir;100% Premier & Grand Cru; minimum aged for 6 years on lees: 6g/L dosage; $99 SRP)
A refreshing burst of fresh white flowers and citrus fruits, followed by the silky, light elegance of candied lemon and honey notes on the palate. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir sourced exclusively from Premier and Grand Cru vineyards, each reveal exceptional freshness and rare elegance, unfurling a breadth of aromas against a magnificent mineral surround.
“To celebrate our 200th anniversary, we are delighted to share an exceptional vintage, Brut Vintage 2008,” says President of Maisons & Domaines Henriot, Gilles De Larouzière, the eighth generation of the Henriot family to oversee this revered house. “This release exemplifies the pure brilliance of a style, a harvest year, and a new chapter for Champagne Henriot. Time is our legacy and the Vintage Brut 2008 release carries our two-century-old story that has perpetuated and enhanced the blend’s graceful quality.”