Henriet-Bazin "Leonard" Rosé Brut Champagne Grand Cru
Made from 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir, all from Verzy and Verzenay, both Grand Cru villages. The vines were planted between 1969 and 2006. The soil is chalky with outcrops of silt and gravel. This rosé is made with the addition of 19% still Pinot Noir from Verzenay vinified by the family. The reserve wine is a solera including very old wines and is added to the base wine from a single vintage. Annual production averages just over 10,000 bottles. The champagne spends 3 years en tirage before being disgorged. Dosage is 8 grams per liter (brut).
"Champagne Henriet-Bazin traces its origins to two families with deep roots in the Montaigne de Reims. The Bazin family came from the village of Verzenay where they cultivated vineyards and supplied grapes to some of the large houses. The Henriet family grew grapes in a neighboring village. Toward the end of the 19th century, Gaston Henriet married Eugénie Bazin and soon began making his own champagnes, a gutsy move at a time when very few independent Champagne producers existed in the region.
However, it was Gaston’s son Robert and his wife Huguette who really expanded the business. They would travel the country and show their bubblies at fairs and markets, first in the local area, then outside of Champagne. They soon built up sales to 35,000 bottles—quite an achievement for a husband and wife team in those days! In 1968, the family moved to the village of Villers-Marmery. This village, in the eastern part of the Montagne de Reims, is the only village planted with a majority (98%) of Chardonnay in a sea of Pinot Noir. The chalk here is very close to the surface of the soil and has a huge influence on the wines—something that helps make it one of only four villages in the Montagne de Reims that is premier cru for Chardonnay but not for the region’s predominant grape Pinot Noir.
Since the beginning of the millennium, the firm has been run by Marie-Noëlle Henriet-Rainon (the 5th generation) and her husband Nicolas Rainon. They recently moved into a new house up the road from Robert and Huguette, and also expanded the winery. The domaine currently totals just over 6 hectares divided into 36 plots over three villages (Villers-Marmery, Verzy and Verzenay). They own 20 plots (2.72 hectares) in Villers-Marmery planted solely with Chardonnay. Here the soil is mostly composed of chalk gravel rather than silt and clay, offering Chardonnay that is both floral and mineraled.
To the northwest, Verzenay is nestled at the bottom of the slope and offers 427 hectares of vines classified as grand cru. Exposed northeast and north and east, the family's ten plots on 2.4 hectares are planted with 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. The white and soft chalk, just below the surface, is covered by silt, flint and chalk gravel. This soil helps produce wines that are solid, opulent and spicy.
Henriet-Bazin also farm seven plots containing just under 1 hectare of vines in Verzy, a town nestled in a valley below Villers-Marmery. Located at the edge of the forest, the village contains 406 hectares of vines sitting on a mix of chalk and gravel, with some stones and silt on the eastern slopes. Classified grand cru, Verzy is planted mostly with Pinot Noir. The wines tend to be elegant and fruity, with a particular floral trait."