Henriot Cuvee des Enchanteleurs 1996
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.
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Founded in Reims in 1808, Champagne Henriot is one of the few remaining family-owned houses with over two hundred years of independence. Over the years, the house has cultivated an audacious approach and a distinctive, luminous style of its own, guided by the pursuit of the purest expression of Chardonnay.
The Henriot family’s strong relationship with Cellar Master Laurent Fresnet and partner growers is essential in creating each Henriot cuvée and maintaining its uncompromising quality standards. With the use of an exceptionally high proportion of reserve wines, as well as predominantly Premier and Grand Cru vineyards, Champagne Henriot produces a distinguishable freshness and quality in each cuvée.
Today, the Henriot family’s expertise is backed not only by their storied history in Champagne but also in their celebrated triumphs in both Burgundy and Chablis with Bouchard Père & Fils, William Fèvre and Chateau de Poncié.
Associated with luxury, celebration, and romance, the region, Champagne, is home to the world’s most prized sparkling wine. In order to bear the label, ‘Champagne’, a sparkling wine must originate from this northeastern region of France—called Champagne—and adhere to strict quality standards. Made up of the three towns Reims, Épernay, and Aÿ, it was here that the traditional method of sparkling wine production was both invented and perfected, birthing a winemaking technique as well as a flavor profile that is now emulated worldwide.
Well-drained, limestone and chalky soil defines much of the region, which lend a mineral component to its wines. Champagne’s cold, continental climate promotes ample acidity in its grapes but weather differences from year to year can create significant variation between vintages. While vintage Champagnes are produced in exceptional years, non-vintage cuvées are produced annually from a blend of several years in order to produce Champagnes that maintain a consistent house style.
With nearly negligible exceptions, . These can be blended together or bottled as individual varietal Champagnes, depending on the final style of wine desired. Chardonnay, the only white variety, contributes freshness, elegance, lively acidity and notes of citrus, orchard fruit and white flowers. Pinot Noir and its relative Pinot Meunier, provide the backbone to many blends, adding structure, body and supple red fruit flavors. Wines with a large proportion of Pinot Meunier will be ready to drink earlier, while Pinot Noir contributes to longevity. Whether it is white or rosé, most Champagne is made from a blend of red and white grapes—and uniquely, rosé is often produce by blending together red and white wine. A Champagne made exclusively from Chardonnay will be labeled as ‘blanc de blancs,’ while ones comprised of only red grapes are called ‘blanc de noirs.’
Representing the topmost expression of a Champagne house, a vintage Champagne is one made from the produce of a single, superior harvest year. Vintage Champagnes account for a mere 5% of total Champagne production and are produced about three times in a decade. Champagne is typically made as a blend of multiple years in order to preserve the house style; these will have non-vintage, or simply, NV on the label. The term, "vintage," as it applies to all wine, simply means a single harvest year.