Premiere – 2008 Henriot ‘Cuvée Hemera’

Richard Juhlin

Richard Juhlin

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Richard Juhlin & Björnstierne Antonson had a sit-down a few weeks before the rest of the wine writers of the world with chef de caves Alice Tétienne, as the first people outside of the Henriot team, to taste the new 2008 Henriot ‘Cuvée Hemera’.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes



Joseph Henriot is one of Champagne’s most important historic men. After having been the boss of Veuve Clicquot for many years, he returned to Henriot in 1994, without the vineyards, which LVMH retained. Since retaking control of the family brand, the house has embarked on an ambitious vineyard purchase program and relies on contracts for the rest of their needs for Champagne Henriot. Purchases are dominated by fruit from the grands crus, especially Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs and the north of the Montagne. The house emphasizes a style led by Chardonnay, although there is almost an equal quantity of structured Pinot Noir from the north face of the Montagne in the villages of Mailly, Verzy, and Verzenay. For a while the firm was run by his modest and extremely competent son, Stanislas Henriot and since 2012 by Richard Moreau.

Winemaker is charming and devoted Alice Tétienne. The Henriot family were established as growers in Champagne by 1640 they started their own Champagne house in 1808. The firm’s strength has always been the high-class vineyards they owned in Côte des Blancs. Today they only own thirty-five hectares of vineyards in Chouilly, Avize, and Épernay. The total proportion of Chardonnay obtained from the firm’s fine contracts with 143 hectares from 73 growers is more than 40 percent; it dominates the house-style with its clean, elegant, fresh citrus fruit.

The Henriot family has always had strong ties with Charles Heidsieck. With Clicquot, on the other hand, they share a part of their cellar. The firm’s biggest export market is Switzerland, where Henriot’s dry, classic, slightly discreet Champagnes are a great success. The firm did well at the Millennium Tasting. Personally, I like these elegant classics extremely much. Some of the most drinkable wines in the world has got the Henriot Label. The entire range is fantastic and the new Cuve 38 is exceptional. Very close to 5 stars like Charles Heidsieck.

[visit Champagne Henriot]




The weather gods were in their best mood this year and the vines stayed unusually free from attack and produced a very good harvest. A truly wonderful vintage that has it all! Probably the best vintage since 1996, and unlike the sour 1996, the wines are wonderful straight away with their clean fruit intensity and unparalleled balance. Everything I tried from cask was magical and I initially had a hard time imagining anything other than that this was the vintage to buy everything you saw.

Unfortunately, it turned out that many growers had difficulty pinpointing the right harvest date, which has led both to snipingly acidic specimens, but also to some flat oxide-driven overripe wines. The general advice is thus to, with a few exceptions, avoid the grower champagnes and buy quantities from the big dragons. So far, Comtes de Champagne, Dom Pérignon and Salon lead closely followed by Cristal, Belle Époque, Bollinger La Grande Année and La Grande Dame, but we’re still waiting for Krug’s creations.


according to Richard Juhlin

TASTING NOTE ’The youngest, shyest, lightest, cleanest and most mineral-driven prestige champagne I’ve tasted from Henriot. Partly due to the fact that we got to try the champagne a few months before everyone else, but mostly due to the fact that they consciously tried to keep as much as possible of these light gray flint-scented leaves in favor of the sometimes perhaps slightly overripe fruit that certain vintages are characterized by from Start.’

« At the moment I definitely prefer the 2006 Hemera I have alongside it, but at some point far into the future the 2008 will slowly slip by and take the throne »

Richard Juhlin

‘In contrast to 2006, which was controlled by Mailly, Verzenay is leading in 2008 with Le Mesnil as conductor among the instruments from the Côte des Blancs. There is, of course, nice bright citrus, slightly bitter bloodgrape, green apple aromas and incipient roasting that will be lovely when the wine has reached its peak, but on the other hand, not at all the peach-driven or exotic coconut-like fruit that 2006 is so full of. Drink after 2030.’




according to Alice Tétienne

« Henriot Hemera 2008 presents a construction loyal to its historical terroirs, made of amplified contrasts and intense demonstration through the year 2008.

Henriot Hemera 2008 shows an intimidating greatness. Freshness, delicacy, distinction and power, all in restraint, characterize this creation. At the opening, some woody and suble toasted notes accompany the movement in the background.

« On the palate, the harmony emerges, giving way to a vivacity pronounced with elegance, and we glimpse a precise and wonderful construction that looks like lace »

Alice Tétienne
Cellar Master of Maison Henriot
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