N.V. Henri Giraud Francois Hemart Grand Cru

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Average critic rating : 90.0 points



A 70-30 blend of Pinot and Chardonnay from Ay aged in tank and later barrel, Giraud’s NV Brut Hommage a Francois Hemart Disg. 3/2012 is pungently scented with lavender and lemon rind. These – along with piquancy of buckwheat as well as bite and musky after-bite of rose radish – proceed to accent juicy lemon and apple on a substantial yet bright palate. The finish here is tangy, invigorating, penetrating and refreshing, if – like the wine as a whole – a tad rustic in its robustness and attack. It should prove fascinating to follow and to play with at table over at least the next 2-3 years. ||Claude Giraud – with whom I have corresponded but have yet to meet – farms 22 acres in Ay, supplemented by purchased fruit. He has become a vocal champion of wood from the local forests of the Argonne, although oak of diverse origins fills out his extensive barrel regimen. Rich, at times positively sumptuous; forceful, sometimes downright powerful; Giraud’s Champagnes make a bold statement that won’t resonate with every lover of this appellation’s wines. And given their prices, even if they weren’t scarce, only a small percentage of wine lovers would be able to access them. To me, they are not just impressive – at times exceptionally so – in their own right, but illustrate the glorious stylistic malleability of Champagne’s grapes and terroirs. I’ll look forwarding to visiting Giraud next year and reporting in much more detail on his stylistic vision and projects as well as his individual cuvees. (I did not taste any recent releases from Giraud’s “Esprit de Giraud” series of tank-raised cuvees.)||Imported by Great Signature Wines LLC, Atlanta, GA; tel. (404) 984-8700; and Old World Wines, Miramar Beach, FL; tel. (850) 225-0663 eRobertParker.com.November, 2013


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