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A definite jewel in the Henriot portfolio, its name is a tribute to the Greek Goddess of day and light, HEMERA. The fruit of a unique vintage, together with a blend of six iconic Grands Crus Champagnes, this Champagne epitomises Henriot’s luminous style.
Origin: 100% Grands Crus
Blend: 50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot noir
Ageing: Minimum aged for 12 years on the lees
THE ART OF BLENDING
The quest for absolute harmony and the virtue of time. HEMERA Champagne is only made in exceptional years from an exclusive blend of Grands Crus chardonnay and pinot noir in equal measure, sourced from Henriot’s villages of choice in Champagne:
• Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs, from Chouilly, Avize and Mesnil-sur-Oger
• Pinot Noir from the north of the Montagne de Reims, from Mailly Champagne, Verzy and Verzenay
Given the quintessential character of these 6 prestigious vineyards, HEMERA 2005 reveals intense balance and freshness characteristic of the entire Henriot range.
Hemera has been named after the Greek goddess of light. Part of the reason for the change was that Enchanteleurs proved difficult to pronounce for many non-French consumers, something that was never positive for sales. The firm has gone from a name I could neither spell nor pronounce to something that sounds more like a villain in a Marvel superhero movie than a wine.
In the end what is important is what is in the bottle. The first Hemera is the 2005, and 2006 will be out very soon and may even be available in some markets by the time this appears.
Laurent Fresnet was chef de cave at Henriot, arriving shortly before the 2005 harvest for this new wine (he has now retired, replaced by Alice Tétienne, formerly of Krug). Fresnet has been quoted as saying that Joseph Henriot told him to do the impossible. To “change everything without touching a thing.” Hence Cuvée Hemera.
Tétienne replaced Fresnet, who has moved to Champagne Mumm, replacing Didier Mariotti, the man who many attribute as responsible for the rise in quality at that house. Mariotti has moved to Veuve Clicquot, replacing the equally highly regarded Dominique Demarville, who went to Laurent Perrier, though only briefly (there are rumors he may end up at Bollinger but nothing concrete). For the record, the former chef du cave at Laurent Perrier, Michel Fauconnet, had retired but has returned for the moment. It really is musical chairs in Champagne at the moment.
Both Enchanteleurs and Hemera are 50/50 Chardonnay/Pinot Noir blends and both hail from the same villages – Mailly, Verzy, Verzenay, Le Mesnil sur Oger, Avize, and Chouilly – yet they are different wines. The richness, body, and power of the Enchanteleurs has been replaced by restraint, class, finesse, and elegance. Two superb champagnes, just different. The Hemera is undoubtedly more of what we would expect from Henriot.
It is also worth briefly talking about the (untasted) Cuve 38. This is a solera style, established in 1990 and named after the large 467-hectoliter tank in which it resides, kept at 14°C. Each year, a contribution is added from four prized Grand Cru vineyards – Chouilly and Avize dominate with support from Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Cramant.
An equivalent amount is removed for use in blending. The amount varies – one percent in some years to 18 percent in others. One thousand magnums are bottled separately. Dosage is less than five grams/liter and the magnums are aged for five years on cork after disgorgement, before release.
Needless to say, these are extremely limited. Australia’s entire allocation is six magnums a year. The first release of this wine was not until 2015.