Opening a bottle of his own Champagne Hommage, Claude Giraud, owner of Champagne Henri Giraud, smiles and pours some of Houston’s most exceptional champagne connoisseurs a glass. Jane Gajano Blythe, co-founder of Boutique Wine Brokers, translates his French to English.
Dinning with Executive Chef Ryan Hildebrand at Triniti Restaurant on Shepherd in Houston last week, Claude Giraud discusses with wine enthusiast his work on the idea of wine’s relationship with wooden casks, sourcing the wood from local forests.
The Giraud family have been on the forefront of wine making dating back to the 17th century in Ay, France. Claude Giraud spent the past 25 years researching the ageing of wine in oak barrels. Claude’s research concludes that the geology of the soil influences the character of the oak as well as the vine itself. The Argonne Forest and the soil it sits on, also referred to as the ‘terrior’, is considered a key ingredient in wine making. Claude comments, “The wood and champagne relationship has to be perfect. We have done a lot of research with the forest, choosing the specific trees from the Argonne forest to make casks. We have introduced a new method of identification in the history of wine and Champagne making.”
The 21st and 22nd of April Giraud will officially reveal the results of 25 years of research on oak cask winemaking and the link between terroir of the vines and the forest land itself. Renowned wine professionals have been invited to trail walk and picnic in the Argonne Forest. VitaBella, Luxury Wine Marketing, reports, “The event will be used to launch the patronage operation with the French Forestry Commission (ONF). Every Argonne Cuvée bottle sold will go towards replanting of the forest.”
You can find more information about Champagne Henri Giraud here