Contemporaries of Henri IV and his descendants, the Hémart family settled permanently in Aÿ at the beginning of the 17th century. Their history took root there and became closely interwoven with the momentous historical events relating to champagne from the 18th century onwards. At the opening of the 20th century, Léon Giraud, cuirassier in the battle of the Marne, married a Miss Hémart. He reconstructed the magnificent family vineyard, which had been ravaged by phylloxera. To achieve this, he used the latest techniques : the grafting of vines (vitis vinifera) on the cuttings taken from certain American vines. In the first place, our non-vintage brut, the result of skilful blending, is the hallmark of our maison. This wine reflects the character of the vinegrowers, men of even temperament with a mischievous sparkle in their eyes, who have acquired the necessary expertise and ingenuity to shoulder the hard work involved in overcoming the hazards of the weather. Thus conveying the same message, the same passion and the same magic for every bottle opened, day after day, year after year. The vineyards set the scene for the orchestra conductor who presides over each vintage wine with his talents of maestro : a challenge he accepts at every harvest. The audacity with which he directs a majestic symphony or a modest concerto, is remarkable. Today, the 12th generation of the Giraud-Hémart family, in the person of Claude Giraud, is in charge of the fortunes of the family business.
The first word that comes to mind in tasting Giraud’s Brut Argonne – which, as its name suggests, was initially raised in new Argonne oak barrels – is sumptuous. This is a mega rich Champagne. The selection of Ay Pinot Noir chosen here is more than capable of subsuming any overt influence that new oak might otherwise have bestowed on it. Lightly baked apple, quince, and marzipan inform the bouquet and silken, expansive, plush palate, accompanied by subtly resinous and smoky black tea. The combination of breadth, textural allure, and fine yet intensely active mousse is spine-tinglingly impressive, striking its balance between vinosity and effervescence at a remarkable high energy level. Hints of salt and iodine add interest, local color, and saliva-inducement to a powerful finishing wave of fruit and nut essences.