If some have opted for luxury marketing or flashy packaging, Henri Giraud cultivates a minimalist style instead. While growers in Champagne are under close scrutiny over their stance on sustainable development, the house has released its Coteaux Champenois bottles with the Triple Zero guarantee: Zero Pesticide, Zero Insecticide, Zero Herbicide.
Henri Giraud chooses terroir expression and the complex science of ageing, in lieu of focussing on dosage or blending as others tend to do.
Champagne Henri Giraud is clearly cultivating its own distinct identity in the world of champagne, now with Claude Giraud at the helm of the Maison. Claude represents the 12th generation of the Giraud-Hémart family, with roots in Champagne going back to the 17th century. With the help of his son-in-law, Sébastien Le Golvet (cellarmaster since the mid-2000s), he has succeeded in establishing the Henri Giraud Champagne House as a reference for collectors and champagne enthusiasts the world over.
The wisdom of the forest
As well as developing a detailed knowledge of the vineyards’ terroirs, Henri Giraud has carried out in-depth experiments on the different oak terroirs in the forest of Argonne for the last 30 years, with the aim of establishing the best pairing between wine and wood. “This forest, which is very close to us, is characterised by its highly impervious soil of gaize in which the oaks grow slowly. This produces a tight-grained wood which was traditionally used for shipbuilding, notably under Colbert, but which brings incredible precision to wine ageing,” explains Sébastien. Actively involved in the preservation and understanding of the Argonne Forest in collaboration with the French National Forestry Office (ONF), the Henri Giraud Champagne House has turned the traceability of its wood into a crusade. Each year, a month before harvest, Sébastien undertakes a stringent evaluation of grape maturities. When he begins to get a good feel for the profile of the vintage, he orders his wood accordingly, and undertakes the toasting himself alongside the coopers. Each barrel is adjusted to a specific juice depending on provenance and toast; inside each of these vessels the champagne wine will patiently develop its intense, full and structured aromatic profile. That is the #EnergyInside stamp of Henri Giraud: great wines first and foremost, whose soft effervescence underpins the raw material and leads you gently towards the revelation of an incredible vibrancy.
Did you know?
It takes 180 years to grow an oak. In a world in which time is speeding up and taking us over, planting an oak is anything but insignificant. We can all do our bit to ensure the survival of a forest near us. This was the motivation behind the project Henri Giraud launched in 2013 to protect the local Argonne Forest, the “Forever and Ever Argonne” campaign, in partnership with the French National Forestry Office (ONF). For each bottle of the ARGONNE cuvée sold, new 2-year-old oak trees are planted and their maintenance over the following five years is fully financed. Safeguarding the Forest of Argonne and protecting Champagne’s heritage is now well under way with more than 50,000 new oaks already planted.