The usual Pinot Noir dominated wine from the fabulous Grand Cru Ay vineyard. The 1999 is a blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, with the first fermentation in oak barriques. Regularly one of the most intense and concentrated Champagne's available, this Henri Giraud Grand Cru Fut de Chene does not disappoint. A very young 1999, still a little closed, that will reward some cellaring, this is nonetheless a thoroughly intense, profound Champagne, toasty oak notes on the nose, leading to a palate bursting with firm fresh and ripe red berry and redcurrant fruit characteristics, voluptuous but beautifully defined. There is plenty to come from this!
Henri Giraud Champagne has been produced by the same family since 1625, making it the oldest Champagne House still under original ownership by the same family. Since they first started their small Champagne business, the Giraud family have supplied twelve generations of private clients in France until, in 2000, the UK saw the dawn of its success on the export market. This Champagne is made entirely from grapes grown on the south-facing chalk slopes of the Grand Cru Aÿ district. The grapes are very carefully pressed before undergoing the first fermentation in oak barriques, contrary to the usual steel vat vinification. After the second traditional bottle fermentation, the wine remains on its dead yeast cells for six years in order to build up a deep complexity, followed by disgorgement just before shipment to retain freshness. The final 1993 blend consists of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. The Pinot Noir gives richness structure and depth of flavour, the Chardonnay offers floral aromas and elegance on the palate while the first barrique fermentation harmonizes the two and creates a smooth, creamy texture. The bottle itself is almost as unique as the wine, characterised by the traditional and graceful Pomponne shape no longer employed by contemporary Champagne Houses.
Champagne is the world's original and most famous region for the production of sparkling wine. A range of styles are produced from the Non-Vintage, through Rose, Vintage and more recently a host of prestige, Vintage luxury cuvees. The three permitted grape varieties are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.