2000 Henri Giraud Grand Cru Ay Fut de Chene

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Average Score 92.0

Lightly toasted almond, hazelnut, and wheat mingle with cidery apple and fresh lemon on the nose and expansive, infectiously juicy palate of Giraud’s 2000 Brut Fut De Chene. Intimations of ocean breeze waft from the glass as well, anticipating a strikingly saline and alkaline streak on the palate that follows mouthwateringly in a long, gripping finish. A seemingly relatively low-pressure impingement of CO2 reinforces the broad and texturally plush aspects of this bottling; the task of preserving vivacity can meantime safely be turned- over to its lively and insistent supply of lemon and tart-edged apple juiciness. Plan to follow bottles for at least half a dozen 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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