In 2015, Henriot unveiled a remarkable new prestige cuvée, which it had secretly held in production for an incredible 25 years. In 1990, Joseph Henriot set aside a special vat of grand cru Côte des Blancs chardonnay. An addition has been made in each of the best vintages since, largely from Chouilly and Avize, with lesser contributions from Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and
Cramant, in something of a solera system. The proportion of each vintage addition may be as little as 1% of the blend, or as much as 18%, according to taste. The blend has grown to fill a 467hL tank, held at 14°C to retain freshness, and, to make space for each addition, the same volume is removed, bottled exclusively in magnums with less than 5g/L dosage and aged for a further five years. Only 1000 magnums will be released each year.
I was privileged to be the first outside the house to see a sneak preview of this unprecedented new concept. This was not the first time I’ve witnessed the other-worldly freshness that can be sustained by annually refreshing a grand old solera in a big tank, but nothing prepared me for the unbridled joy of youth radiating from this glass. I was stunned that a blend whose youngest component was seven years old, and oldest no less than 24 years, could trap such a bright straw hue, breathtaking lemon blossom and lemon zest fragrance and vibrant focus. The wisdom of maturity is articulated in aged richness of nougat character, but still far from tertiary in its development. A taut, dry, saline finish and an appropriate reductive note rejoices in the texture of a quarter of a century on lees, amplifying the depth and definition of inimitable Côtes des Blancs grand cru minerality. It deserves a big glass and lots of air, but it will blossom with another five years of age, and will effortlessly take another 25 years in its stride.
97 points Tyson Stelzer
“Not the first time I’ve witnessed the other worldly freshness that can be sustained by annually refreshing a grand old solera, but I was stunned by the unbridled joy of youth radiating from this glass. The wisdom of maturity is articulated in secondary richness, but its’s still far from tertiary in its development. It will effortlessly take another 25 years in its stride.“
97 points Decanter Magazine decanter.com