Drawing favourable comparisons to Krug’s top (hyper-expensive) cuvees, this tiny-production Champagne from an exceptional vintage is a must-buy for any connoisseur. A twelfth generation estate situated in the heart of Aÿ, Henri Giraud has long been crafting rich, intense and highly distinctive wines.
Owning a large proportion of the region's most impressive Grand Cru vineyards, Giraud produce top quality fruit and some of the appellation's very finest Champagnes. Combining fresh, Pinot Noir-dominated fruit notes with beautifully integrated spice, the "drop-dead gorgeous" 2004 (Galloni) showcases this world-class producer at its most spectacular. On tasting it for the Hedonist's Gazette (alongside the legendary 2002), Parker memorably declared "I actually like it as much as the top cuvées from Krug", and with the quality on display here, it is easy to see why.
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Average critic rating : 96.0 points
Straw yellow towards golden in color, the sumptuous 2004 Aÿ Grand Cru Argonne Brut from 70-year-old Pinot Noir vines offers a very clear and discreet, yet complex and "Burgundian" bouquet with elegant flavors of white and yellow fleshed fruits, citrus aromas (the whole range from oranges and mandarins to lemons), gooseberries, mushrooms, juniper and fresh oak. Fermented and raised on the full lees for one year in Argonne oak barrels (30% of which were new), this is a full-bodied, rich and filigree-structured, very elegant, precisely defined and finesse-full Aÿ Champagne. It has remarkable freshness and mineral stringency. Less rich and round than the Fût de Chêne, the tightly woven, yet bright and lifted Argonne is more built on mineral purity, finesse and elegance. The finish is firm but amazing, and indicates a great ageing potential. All in all, this is a fascinating, age-worthy new luxury cuvée. Total production is 8,000 bottles. || Based in Ay, Henri Giraud produces luxury Champagnes of unique quality and style. The 2004 Argonne Brut is a fascinating Pinot Noir fermented and aged in noble 228-liter barrels of Argonne oak; whereas the famous Fût de Chêne MV07 contains 30% Chardonnay, which seems to add generous fruit and freshness. Both wines are widely rich in flavors and body, but at the same time they are pure, precise and highly elegant—revealing a gorgeous vinous quality. Both are great, unfortunately highly expensive, Champagnes; although, I prefer the mineral purity of the 2004 Argonne to the exuberant richness and sumptuous fruit of the (2007) Fût de Chêne. Jun 16, www.robertparker.com, Drink 2016-2028
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