Via the technicalities of champagne law, a Recoltant House can’t sell champagne made from grapes it hasn’t grown itself. This means a NM coded wine like Henri Laurent is significantly built from grapes that Charpentier has bought from external growers. This is why it has an alternate name; to separate itself from the house’s recoltant wines.
Such commercial arrangements are not uncommon in the Champagne world.
J Charpentier founded his house in 1855, and originally sold wine to boat and cabmen when they pulled in for a pit-stop at his estate. Today, the house is known for the unusal step of growing Chardonnay within the Marne Valley region, where Pinot Meunier is usually the staple.
Henri Laurent Brut NV is cheap offering from the Coles group of liquor retailers, and on sale can be found for $30 a bottle – but don’t let that be a deterrent for questionable quality. Being a product of a house that deeply understands champagne production from soil to bottle is a wise move that could possibly yield some surprising results!
Let find out how it goes.
From: Charly sur Marne, Champagne, France
Cost & Source: ~$36 a bottle available from First Choice Liquor
Blend Ratio (%): Pinot Noir/Chardonnay/Pinot Meunier (80/15/5) with 8 g/l dosage
Aging: 3 Years
Disgorged: 2016 (estimated)
Sipped: July 2017
In the Glass:
Look: Henri Laurent has a Pale Golden Hue, with a good fine bead.
Smell: Henri Laurent is a very fresh and fruity smelly wine with a slight trace of yeast from fermentation
Taste: A surprisingly good drop – Henri Laurent arrives with a vibrant introduction of snappy citrus, with a elements of tart pineapple, strawberry caps and cranberry in a reasonable depth of intensity. If anything it tastes slightly watery in delivery, holding itself back a touch.
Once the sip has settled in, tongue real-estate is occupied by a slight fungal aftertaste of medium length with takes a bit of the edge off – but not as bad as others I’ve tried.
Refreshing and pleasant otherwise.
Party Potential: It’s cheap price (especially on sale) and decent performance make it a good budget “Genuine Champagne” that will perform ably if you are not insistent on brand names.
As a Gift: I would only recommend Henri Laurent as an informal gift for casual events, where you get to open it straight away.
At Home: This is a decent Friday night split with the significant other over a carefully prepared, home cooked meal (or special take away).
Matching: I had this champagne with some lovely pork and prawn rice paper rolls and it performed more than admirably.
Score & Verdict:
A mysterious one, hiding its half-blood family lines behind an alter ego. They have absolutely nothing to be ashamed about – pleasant company at the dinner table – and some occasional casual meetings are in order.
At $36 I feel it is only decent value for the quality.
How did I drink it?
Bought a cold bottle for a family members impromptu birthday dinner..
How did you drink it?
And how did you find it? Let me know!
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