On the eye: Radiant, warm and limpid yellow-gold. Fine, persistent effervescence.
On the nose: The nose is dominated by aromas of fresh fruit and slightly candied citrus fruit, followed by floral notes that offer an airy, discreet and pleasant bouquet.
On the palate: Lots of freshness, a sign of remarkable purity and great finesse. The wine shows excellent maturity, revealed gradually on the palate: dried fruit, caramel, spicy flavours.
The name "Enchanteleur" borne by this rare wine refers to the cellar workers in the days when vinification was carried out only in barrels. Their work consisted in particular of piling up the casks on wooden beams. It was said that they "put the casks on chantiers (gantries)", that they "enchantelaient"... They traditionally enjoyed the privilege of making for themselves a small Champagne cuvée produced from the finest wines.
So as to enhance the remarkable character of the 1996 vintage, Champagne Henriot chose to add Pinot Noir's power to the elegance of Chardonnay (in the majority). Supplies came mainly from among six of Champagne's most prestigious Grands Crus: Mailly Champagne, Verzy and Verzenay on the Montagne de Reims, and Mesnil-sur-Oger, Avize and Chouilly in the Côte des Blancs.
"Tight-grained, with an immediate impression of the sea before forest floor and citrus notes take over. This is bright and fresh, with plenty of spice, toast and candied berry flavors, backed by a firm structure. The finish just keeps going. Best from 2012 through 2040."
"With all the extreme intensity of this vintage, this wine brings even more. The start of cookie yeast and toast character, a vibrant mineral texture, hints of spice, green herbs and a final white peach flavor. It is still young, just keep aging."
"Vivid yellow-gold. Kaleidoscopic aromas of citrus fruits, poached pear, mango, lees and licorice, with slow-building florality. Supple, palate-coating orchard and exotic fruit flavors are complicated by notes of herbs and buttered toast, with a smoky quality in the background. Seems younger than it did last year, showing excellent finishing clarity and persistent smoke and spice character. This really won't let go of the palate, which is fine by me. I'd still hold this."
International Wine Cellar
"The 1996 Brut Cuvee des Enchanteleurs is one of the softer, more forward 1996s readers are likely to come across. Smoke, cantaloupe, pear, flowers, mint, sweet baking spices and apricots are some of the notes that emerge from this layered, sublime Champagne. The finish is long and polished. The 1996 Enchanteleurs is drinking beautifully today, but also appears to have the stuffing to age gracefully for at least another decade. Disgorged: June, 2008. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2019."
The Wine Advocate