Henri Giraud ‘fût de chêne’ MV13
A name for proper Champagne aficionados, Maison Henri Giraud has been owned by the same family since 1625 and is now on its 13th generation of winemakers. For Giraud, wood is as important as the grapes (fût de chêne means ‘oak barrel’) and they will only use barriques made from Argonne Forest wood for the fermentation of their wine.
Specialising in numerous expressions of Pinot Noir from their various parcels of vines, largely selected from their Grand Cru vineyards, the MV stands for Multi-Vintage, where a wine will be based on juice from one vintage, but blended with older, reserve wines for added depth and complexity.
In this case, the base is 2013 with 30% of reserve wines, which have sat on their lees for five years, giving them rich, ‘biscuity’ notes and a creamy texture. To taste, this wine is extraordinary: extremely complex, but not ‘shouty’. Think of acacia blossom and a hint of tobacco, backed up by notes of candied peel, dried fig, baked apple and a lovely mineral freshness on the finish. For a rare wine, this offers exceptional value.
RRP £125 from The Whisky Exchange & Champagne Direct.
Castelnau Cuvée Brut 2006 Vintage Champagne
If you’re looking for a reliably fantastic, award-winning champagne to have as your house pour rather than a one-off, iconic bottle, then you can’t go wrong with Castelnau. Known for their extensive lees ageing, especially with their vintage wines such as this, you’ll always be treated to those sought-after, opulent notes of toasted brioche and baked apple pie.
The 2006 blend is made up of 50% Chardonnay, which helps give it a luscious, full body and 30% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier for finesse, crisp red fruit notes and a touch of spice.
This wine won Gold at the IWSC 2019, Gold at The Drinks Business Champagne Masters 2019 and Gold too at the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships 2019. A luxury wine at a price where you can pop it again and again and again.
RRP £54-59 from Cork & Bottle also found in many top-end restaurants, hotels and bars.
(Next: Rare Champagne Millésime 2008 Rosé, Krug Rosé – 23rd edition and Armand de Brignac Brut Rosé.).