Champagne houses are not generally well known for hiding their light under a bushel, however, the house of Henri Giraud is no ordinary Champagne House. Founded in 1625 in Aÿ, Henri Giraud was producing wine even before the discovery of the process that created the sparkling wine we now know as Champagne.
It is the oldest Champagne house still owned by the founding family and yet they have until recently been selling their wines directly to a small army of discerning, well informed private customers in France and Italy.
Claude Giraud is the 12th generation to run the company and it was his decision to open the doors to the 21st Century and allow the world to buy his wines. The house has 35 parcels under vine in Aÿ, 26 planted to Pinot Noir and 9 to Chardonnay, all managed according to the lutte raisonnée (a level of organic grape growing), and Giraud also buys in grapes mainly from family and other trusted sources. This is one of the few houses (Krug is another example) that conduct its primary fermentations in oak. Giraud prides itself on sourcing wood for its barrels from the slow growing, tight grained, high quality trees of the nearby Argonne forest. With such a unique, innovative approach to quality one would expect this to be reflected in the wines, it is therefore no surprise that journalists such as Tom Stevenson and Jancis Robinson have been quick to cotton on to the high quality of these wines.