Henriot Brut Souverain: A Commanding Wine

Henriot Brut Souverain: A Commanding Wine

A scintillating non-vintage Champagne

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I usually wait until the holidays to recommend Champagne. But as Fats Waller used to sing: “Everyday’s a holiday since the day that I found you”! Experts know that as exciting as vintage Champagne can be, the reputation of a producer is based on the quality of his non-vintage wines. These showcase the blending smarts of the winemaker, and today’s example is a scintillating one. Laurent Fresnet, who won the International Wine Challenge (IWC) “Sparkling Winemaker of the Year” twice, (2015 and ’16) is the “chef de caves” at Henriot and the key to today’s wine. For those who love the finesse, the “cut” and the singular expression that only true Champagne can deliver, I think you’ll be wowed. (This family-owned estate is more than 200 years old and, for those who also love white burgundy, Henriot also owns the delectable William Fêvre Chablis estate.)

Henriot Brut Souverain non-vintage Champagne, $45 srp

Bosc pear color with brilliant golden highlights. A mineral-laden nose of Granny Smith apple, citrus and yeasty brioche. There’s a persistent, ultra-fine bubble that invigorates. Flavors are vibrant and focused; laser-like yet gorgeously structured, they suggest apple, lime and stone fruits. A bracing freshness dominates with considerable body and mouth-filling texture. For me, the perfect opener for an evening. (50% pinot noir, 45% chardonnay, 5% pinot meunier) Drink today-2021.

93/100 points

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Arturo Ciompi
Trained as a classical clarinetist and conductor, Arturo plied his trade for many years in New York, performing with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York City Opera, the American Symphony and countless chamber music groups. While living in Durham, Arturo became the wine manager at two iconic gourmet stores: Fowler’s in Durham and Southern Season in Chapel Hill. He had a wine spot on NPR in the ’90s and has been a continuously published wine journalist since 1997. He has won national awards for his work and is currently writing for Durham Magazine and its weekly blog, “Wine Wednesdays”. In addition, he loves teaching the clarinet. Read more on his website.