Henri Giraud Champagne

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The Ay Grand Cru terroir

This Champagne terroir certainly has the richest historical past, produced the wine of reference for the greatest journalists, writers and poets of all times...and yet remains the most misunderstood.

Very few wine lovers have been able to lift the thin vegetal skin of its slopes, plunging into the intimacy of the deep faults of its limestone and drawing, like the roots of its small pinots, the mineral inspiration: a delicate finish.

Very few have felt the Côte Valnon vibrate under the July sun and the great crows circle in the warm early morning winds; the grape-pickers, glistening with dew and sweat, their pruning shears smeared with sugar: power and roundness of aromas.

The great white river of mist glides gently over the river, gradually submerging the village, the hillsides and, pushed by the sudden breeze, uncovering the sun-drenched valley like a magician's veil: the freshness of the mint, the incomparable elegance of Aÿ pinots.

The purest tradition

Barrel ageing had been completely abandoned in Champagne since 1950, but my father still carefully kept his barrels. For champagne wines to have had such a reputation even before they were foaming, the wine/wood pairing had to be extraordinary. Based on this concept, I had Argonne oak barrels rebuilt and certified in the purest tradition. These AR-marked barrels are unique. So are the fatness, elegance and discreet woodiness they produce.

The best of progress

Since the 17th century, Reims Cathedral has borne witness to our history: the coronation of kings, of course, but also the lives of people, simply, to the rhythm of the seasons and the milestones of their history.

The scene from the legend of the pruning of the vines is one of them: "Saint-Vincent, the patron saint of the winegrowers' guild, was arguing with one of the winegrowers and let his donkey graze the vines. The winegrower was very unhappy about this, but the next harvest he saw that the grapes were certainly fewer in number, but much bigger and of much better quality". From our 21st-century perspective, Saint-Vincent is the forerunner of "culture raisonnée".

It's a legend, but one born of the keen sense of observation and common sense of the people of the land. To live passionately with vines and wine, to observe, to gently shape their environments, to forbid nothing, to oblige nothing, and little by little to find the true path of a magnificent terroir! This is the philosophy of Maison Giraud.

Cold settling is one of the most advanced and respectful techniques we have mastered since 1990. The precision of our work is at the origin of the lace-like aromas...

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