Just in time for the holidays, Henriot has released a collection of vintage bubbly for celebratory sipping.
The family-owned Champagne house, which was founded in 1808 by Apolline Henriot, has labeled the release Les Mémoires. Quite fitting since the collection comprises three bottlings dating as far back as the ‘50s that recall distinct years in viniculture.
“Tasting these treasures brings unparalleled emotion and pleasure,” the Maison’s CEO and president Gilles de Larouzière Henriot said in a statement. “Through the release of singular vintages, I am happy to share these ‘Mémoires,’ embodying a piece of Champagne’s history.”
The Champagnes, which hail from vintages 1959, 1971 and 1981, have been aged for decades in Henriot’s cool, quiet cellars in Reims in northeastern France. The rare bottlings were late-disgorged by hand just months ago in the spring of 2021, before they were tasted and individually numbered by cellar master and vineyard director Alice Tétienne. The trio includes two prestige cuvées from ‘59 and ‘81 along with one millésimé from ‘71. The Maison says each Champagne tastes fresh, lively and vibrant despite its age.
Priced at $6,000 per magnum, the Cuvée Des Enchanteleurs 1959 is an equal part blend of the house’s six historical crus that were on the lees for 62 years. This particular year experienced ideal weather conditions, leading to grapes with extraordinary phenolic ripeness and character. As such, this drop, which the house says is one of the most outstanding of the past century, offers fresh citrus on the nose while the palate reveals a complex, full-bodied structure and remarkable freshness. The long finish, meanwhile, promises notes of honey, fig and brioche.
“Cuvée des Enchanteleurs 1959 is endowed with eternal youth, characterized by charisma and elegance,” Tétienne said. “On the palate, it astonishes with its incredible freshness.”
Similarly, Cuvée des Enchanteleurs 1981 is 100 percent grand cru that was aged for 40 years on lees. Defined by challenging weather conditions, this year resulted in a small harvest that yielded scarce but high-quality wines. Priced at $1,000 a pop, the ‘81’s nose reveals iodine notes while the palate is lively yet elegant.
Finally, the Millésimé 1971 is a mix of grand and premier crus that was aged for half a century on lees. A very difficult vintage, ‘71 saw a cold winter and a spring frost that destroyed (or delayed) flowering in the majority of Champagne. This wine, retailing for $800, has aromas that include thyme, pine and stone fruit. It’s complex on the palate and has a persistent finish.
“The Henriot Mémoires Collection has achieved exactly what Apolline set out to do two centuries ago, providing a snapshot of Champagne history with these exceptional releases,” Tétienne adds.
Henriot’s Les Mémoires collection is available nationwide in the US and can be purchased at select fine wine retailers.