Richard Juhlin & Björnstierne Antonsson had a one-on-one tasting with cellar master Alice Tétienne & tasted the new 2016 Henriot ’L’inattendue’ – pure Chardonnay from Avize.
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The Champagne region is comprised of a great diversity of Terroir, through different vines exposures, slopes, soils tones, operators in the vineyard, or even growing practices. When Apolline Henriot founded Maison Henriot in 1808, she wanted to tell the beauty of this vineyard and thus of the diversity that characterizes it. Apolline Henriot cultivated this richness of profiles offered by the nature, allowing her to respond to her desire to craft Champagnes expressing complexity and generosity.
Creation of the 8th generation of the Henriot family, represented by Gilles de Larouzière Henriot, L’inattendue is the demonstration of one of the principles of know-how led by the Maison since its foundation: the culture of the diversity of the Terroirs of Champagne. It reveals a Terroir through a singular year and a unique grape variety.
The year 2016
The year 2016 was marked by a complex climate and in mixed fortunes. After a calm and serene start to the year, the spring translate into heavy rainfall. This abundant rain persists until the beginning of the summer to then move on to an extreme drought. The harvest, which started on September 18th for Maison Henriot, surprises and delights with promising balances.
The Côte des Blancs & the Grand Cru of Avize
On the winegrowing hillside of the Côte des Blancs, different chalk facies are visible, from the bottom of the hillside to a high limit. This chalk is covered, on the upper part, by hard clay and limestone from the Tertiary (65 to 25 million years ago). The Grand Cru of Avize is an integral part of the Côte des Blancs. It is revealed here through Henriot L’inattendue 2016 which perfectly reflects this geological profile. Historically, Chardonnay has been planted on this Terroir, offering a perfect balance between soil, vine and climate.
The words of the Cellar Master
«This cuvée cannot leave indifferent. The aromatic profile is precise, fine, chiselled. It’s a real statement. Minerality and citrus fruit dominate. Indeed, the ball park is chalky, ethereal and the fresh lemon expresses itself, accompanied by mentholated notes. In the mouth, it is a perfect coherence. This one is straight, tracing. Intensity and precision guide the taste perception.»
Alice Tétienne, Cellar Master of Maison Henriot
The words of the Richard Juhlin
« The name L’Inattendue means unexpected and is intended as a wine where winemakers are most surprised by style in the highest quality class. Henriot’s new baby from the light but elegant vintage 2016 is an ultra-clean and intense Avize Blanc de Blancs from four locations in completely different parts of the municipality (Les Regards, Les Avats, Les Chanteraines and Les Roches) made on a steel tank and with a low dosage of 4 grams of sugar. Spontaneously, I loved the wine at my first meeting as, despite its youthful restrained style right from the start, it is very reminiscent of the masterpiece Cuve 38. Perhaps not so surprising considering that these vineyards are an important part of the famous magnum made as a solera. Salt-sprinkled and flinty mineral elegance, lime, magnolia, lemon zest dominate, but there is also an enveloping buttery richness and silky texture that gives a feeling of maturity in the middle of its youthful beauty. Lovely irritating as a spring breeze now, but even more delicious in ten years in a good cellar. A large and ultra-elegant wine reminiscent of the most subtle wines from Puligny-Montrachet. »