Shop the Henriot range at de Burgh

I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly flashy individual. My car is from 2008, I’ve resisted the temptation to whiten my teeth, I’ve never been on a sun bed, I don’t wear jewellery and I’ve never been out of Dubai airport other than to board a plane to a less shiny destination, but I do love Champagne.


Champagne has been a massive marketing success. The bigger brands have deep pockets and have not only successfully marketed their own brands but have helped to promote the region as a whole and create brand Champagne, synonymous with wealth, luxury, style and success. Champagne also remains an affordable luxury which is made in relatively large quantities so the rich can swill it at their leisure and the rest of us can get an occasional taste of the high life.


This image of Champagne is so ingrained in society that its consumption is largely associated with celebrations and is often thought of as a bit flash. As I’ve said before, I don’t need a reason or life event to drink Champagne and I see it as a drink in the same way I see red wine or beer as a drink. Sometimes you are just in the mood for it and want to drink it for the quality of the wine and experience rather than the preconceived idea that it is a beverage to accompany an event.


I’ve always felt that this is where Champagne sometimes has an issue. The quality of the wine is often overlooked in favour of the brand. It can be tricky for smaller, lesser-known Champagne houses to compete against the big boys with names everyone has heard of. I’m not one for bashing the big brands but this year I’ve had a couple of incidents where I’ve been recommending Champagne Henriot only to be told “I’ve never heard of it”. Now that’s fine, there are Champagne houses I’ve never heard of, but I wouldn’t dismiss them on the grounds of not knowing them. Well-known brands have a degree of safety attached to them and a lot of us are brand loyal. You may have had that Champagne at your wedding or visited the house. I still always buy Colgate and Fairy washing-up liquid!


Anyway, Champagne Henriot is perhaps a lesser-known brand, but it has been an enormous success for de Burgh wines and also for me personally where it has filled the quality-to-price gap perfectly and allowed me to carry on with my Champagne lifestyle. The wine-making is now headed up by Alice Tetienne who grew up in the region and has a wealth of knowledge and experience that is unrivalled having worked with Krug and Laurent Perrier. The whole range is excellent but for me, the Non-Vintage Brut Souverain is a complex and thrilling wine that really stands out. With its touches of butter and toast behind the fresh citrus fruit, it embodies the house style and is amazing value. The 2012 is richer and elegant and will be opened on Christmas morning whilst the Blanc de Blanc and Rose are both leaders in their field.

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