Champagne Henri Giraud
Champagne Henri Giraud is the oldest Champagne house in France that is still owned by the founding family. Located in Ay, it is only since the current owner, Claude Giraud, took over the estate that the wines produced have been released under the family name.
The Giraud-Hemart family has been farming grapes in Ay since 1625. The Hemart side of the family are descendents of Henri IV settling in Ay at the beginning of the 17th century, where they began to tend to grape vines. The growers and producers in Ay have long made a name for themselves as having some of the best grapes in France, if not the world, and Champagne Henri Giraud continues this long tradition.
Up until Claude Giraud, the current and 12th generation owner of the estate, took over, they were a family of growers. It is only in recent years that Champagne Henri Giraud has started producing and bottling their own wines, releasing them under the family name.
Claude Giraud feels he bears a great responsibility, not only to his family, but also to the region of Champagne. He has been able to live up to these expectations by producing some truly spectacular wines while working under the motto, “nothing forbidden, nothing obliged; make good wine, simply.”
The estate owns 10 hectares of vineyards in and around Ay, which is divided into 35 different plots. Any extra fruit they need is purchased from family and friends in the area.
From these 10 hectares, the estate produces about 250,000 bottles of wine per year. 67% of their output is made up of a Champagne blend, 11% is Pinot Noir, 11% is Chardonnay, 9% is a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blend and 2% is Ratafia. White wines produced by Champagne Henri Giraud are typically a blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. Champagne wines are typically “non-vintage,” which means that they are blended wines made from grapes of multiple vintages.
Champagne Henri Giraud takes full advantage of the terroir available in Ay, which is pure chalk, as well as its reputation as the top Champagne area in the region. Every vineyard here is classified as a Grand Cru vineyard, the top classification for French wines.
Claude Giraud is an advocate of using oak barrels to age the wine, which nowadays is uncommon in the area. He sources his oak from the Argonne Forest, which used to provide most of the oak for the Champagne region, but today is barely used. Giraud is so passionate about aging his wines in oak barrels, however, that he has GPS positions on individual trees, so that he can match these up once they have been made into barrels, with specific vineyard parcels.
Giraud uses oak barrels to age all of his wines, except for the Esprit de Giraud. His Blanc de Blanc wines use just a small amount of oak-aged Chardonnay, but the base wine for his Hommage spends around 6 months in the barrels. When it comes the Code Noir and Champagne Henri Giraud’s signature Fut de Chene, they are both fermented and aged in Argonna oak barrels.
One of Claude Giraud’s main goals is to return to the land and the origins of wine. He also works to replant the forest from which he sources his oak barrels, so that everything will end up in balance. He works with all natural materials and deeply believes in the regional origins of wines, having a natural distrust of homogeneous products with no depth or personality.
Champagne Henri Giraud’s flagship wine is the Fut de Chene release, a Champagne blend made of Pinot Noir. This wine is also Brut, which is a designation within the Champagne region meaning that is has less than 12 grams of residual sugar per litre.
For you, we have indeed selected the Henri Giraud Fut de Chene MV Ay Grand Cru Brut.