In the rolling hills of the Marne valley, in the village of Aÿ, you will find champagne house Henri Giraud. It has been there since 1625. The domain is less than 5 kilometres from the champagne capital Épernay. Henri Giraud's motto is: 'return to excellence'. This is how you know that they do not follow the trend of fast produced party champagnes. Ultimately, it's all about quality here.
The terroir of Aÿ consists of deep limestone and chalk soils. This is the perfect soil for the production of high-quality champagnes. The vines yield low yields due to their old age. The grapes are picked by hand and then fermented in small quantities. At Henri Giraud, they have implemented the Triple Zero model. This model stands for zero pesticide, zero insecticide and zero fungal control. In short, everything happens naturally! This is one of Giraud’s keys to success.
Since 2016, they no longer use stainless steel tanks for fermentation. They now only work with wooden barrels or terracotta fermentation eggs. The wood for these barrels comes from the nearby forest, the Argonne forest. It’s also the winery who looks after this natural woodland.
It depends on the cuvée whether the base wine is aged in terracotta or oak. The cellar looks impressive! There are more than 800 (!) barrels of these base wines. The fermentation, malolactic conversion and the sur lie maturation all take place in the same barrel. The dosages are between 7 and 8 grams per litre and that puts these champagnes into the brut category. Henri Giraud's famous cuvées are Esprit Nature, Hommage, Blanc de Craie, Dame-Jane and Argonne.
The champagne house has received several high scores from renowned wine journalists, such as Jancis Robinson and Robert Parker!Read more