As a sparkling wine fan(atic), pretty easy to say “yes” to a media event involving bubbles. And downright simple when it involves the finest of fizz from a producer I have been a longtime fan of: Champagne Henriot.
I have to say, it’s nice to be able to walk to an event. In this case, at National Sawdust in Williamsburg. I was there a couple years ago for a concert but I certainly wasn’t drinking Champagne. Anyway, this space is super space-age luxe.
As we gathered in the lobby, our first sips were from a magnum of Champagne Henriot Blanc de Blancs. I love 100% Chardonnay Champagnes like this. They have a briskness perfect for kickstarting an evening/afternoon/late breakfast. Also, Champagne folks are gaga for drinking magnums. When in the region a couple years ago, one winemaker referred to the standard 750-milliliter bottle (somewhat derogatorily) as a “half-magnum.” Wine in mags ages more slowly and evenly because there is a larger juice-to-air ratio inside the bottle. AND THEY ARE JUST COOLER, PERIOD.
The star of the show, and the reason for the season, was Champagne Henriot Cuveé Hemera* 2005. It’s the first prestige cuveé for the winery’s cellarmaster Laurent Fresnet, who’s been with Henriot since 2006. This Champagne was luxurious, rich yet refreshing, and a great match with a monkfish dish served with lots of vegetables ON AN ILLUMINATED PLATE.
Anyway, it was a pretty bonkers evening. Harpists. Theremin-type action. Flutes. (Though, not Champagne flutes. Le bummer!)
We also drank the Brut Millésime 2008, a celebration of Maison Henriot’s 200th vintage. You definitely drink Champagne when you reach a couple hundred vintages, no?
Champagne Henriot Brut Souverain NV
But the Champane Henriot bottling that has a special place in my heart is the Brut Souverain. Yes, it was a distinct pleasure to be among the first folks to taste the Hemera. But the Brut Souverain, Henriot’s non-vintage blend, is a great introduction to the house and its style. It transports me back to selling it as a wine steward at QFC Broadway Market in Seattle. (Here’s a crazy story about those days, BTW).
Henriot was my go-to** recommendation for people just getting into Champagne and looking for something different than the usual suspects. It’s also important to note there are a lot of wineries with very expensive, prestige wines, but their “regular” offerings are disappointing. Not so with Chamapgne Henriot! This blend of 50% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir, and 5% Pinot Meunier is all killer, no filler.
But even if you don’t have a harp accompaniment and a plate of monkfish, I promise you will enjoy Champagne Henriot. Consider it for all your dang holiday eating and drinking and then make your New Year’s Eve resolution (too soon?) to drink more high-quality sparkling wine all dang year long and FOREVER.
*Greek Goddess of Daylight
**Other go-to NV Champers I feel the same way about: Laurent-Perrier, Gaston Chiquet, Pierre Peters