The origins of Champagne Henri Giraud date back to 1625… The Hémart family, contemporaries of Henri IV and his descendants, settled permanently in the town of Aÿ in the early 17th century. The family history is deeply rooted in Aÿ and became closely related to the extraordinary destiny of Champagne from the 18th century onwards.
In the early 1900s, Léon Giraud, Cavalryman in the Battle of the Marne, married Lady Hémart and set upon rebuilding the beautiful family vineyards, which had been devastated by phylloxera. Today, Claude Giraud, the 12th generation of the Giraud-Hémart family, is at the helm and presides over this “Maison de Champagne” (UMC member) whose iconic vintage cuvée is named “Argonne”.
Building on the three historical pillars of the Maison Henri Giraud (Aÿ Grand Cru, Pinot Noir and barrels from the Argonne forest), Claude Giraud has since 1990 reconnected with Champagne’s past and started crafting again oak barrels from Argonne, the famous Champagne forest located about 35 miles east of Reims. This oak forest is where for more than ten centuries the famous barrels of Champagne came from.
Every year, international experts meet in the Maison’s ‘Ateliers’ to understand the impact of different terroirs and geological composition of the soil of the forest on the taste and texture of the wines. Salinity, intensity and aromatic complexity of Champagne Henri Giraud make it one of the jewels of excellence of the region. With only 250,000 bottles produced, including only a few thousands for its vintage cuvées, these Champagnes are now sought after by collectors and fine wine lovers from all corners of the world.
Robert Parker writes: “This may be the finest Champagne house virtually no one has ever heard of. These traditionally made, wood-aged Champagnes include a luxury cuvee, the Grand Cru Ay Fut de Chene, which is reminiscent of Krug in a slightly less oxidized style.” Similarly Richard Juhlin has described Fût de Chêne as “reminiscent of Krug Grande Cuvée with a bit of exoticism.”
As mentioned their top release for several years was “Fût de Chêne”, which was released in strong vintages. We have a mixed case of these. In 2002 they decided to blend the best 5/6 vintages of Fût de Chêne and make the prestige cuvée Argonne. Named after the forest where they source their oak barrels. The wines are vinified and aged in oak for a year before 7-10 years on lees in bottle. The 2004 was released in 2014.
Tasting Notes: Jancis Robinson MW tasted there recently and is going to publish notes soon. Parker has notes on some of the mid 1990s Fût de Chêne wines which make up the Ennéade cases. Galloni is the biggest critic to have tasted at Giraud recently and published notes…
2004 Argonne: “Giraud’s flagship 2004 Argonne continues to come together nicely in bottle. The interplay of power and energy is compelling. With time in the glass the 2004 becomes richer and creamier, yet it never loses its essential underlying energy. Hints of dried pearl, almond, smoke and spice add shades of nuance on the warm, resonant finish. The 2004 is 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay, fermented and aged in barrel. 94 points. Drink now – 2024.” Antonio Galloni, Vinous, July 2015
Fût de Chêne MV09: No professional notes yet, but Jancis Robinson recently tasted at Giraud. MV05 scored 94 with Galloni. MV06 scored 94 with Galloni. MV07 scored 93+ with Galloni.
MV Rosé: “An addition to the range, the MV Fut de Chêne Rosé was introduced to replace the Code Noir, which as I have written in the past, at times was problematic in its aging curve. A wine of real precision and energy, the MV Rosé is impeccably balanced throughout, with persistent veins of chalky minerality and acidity that give energy to the red berry, kirsch and floral flavors. The Fut de Chêne Rosé is 80% Pinot Noir (including 5-6 still Pinot) and 20% Chardonnay. Disgorged June 26, 2014. 94 points. Drink now – 2022.” Antonio Galloni, Vinous, July 2015