Right before the ‘Champagne Week’ and the Atelier N°6 (17 & 18 april 2016), Claude Giraud – CEO of Champagne Henri Giraud – answers 3 questions on ‘Natural Wines’. In fact, Atelier N°6 will provide the opportunity to announce the official end of stainless steel; barrels will be made of oak from the Argonne Forest and terracotta will be used for vinifying the grapes.And also to talk about Champagne Henri Giraud’s vision on ‘Natural Wines’…
Before talking about ‘Natural Wine’, is Champagne Henri Giraud organic?
Claude Giraud: “The Henri Giraud Estate is not certified organic but we have trialled organic practices on certain “partner’ vineyards and obtained Ecocert accreditation with them this year (vines certified for three years). For me it’s clear that the organic label does not describe a wine but rather the choice of where pesticides used on the vines come from. It does not guarantee the desired level of quality that we wish to obtain in our grapes. And as for the constraints applied to winemaking, we were already well within prescribed limits, which have no impact on either the quality or the personality of wine.”
Why are you talking about ‘Natural Wine’ today?
C.Giraud: “The term ‘natural wine’ does not exist as a label, and we don’t use it for our wines. But at this stage of the debate we would like to offer our view of what a ‘natural wine’ is. For us it is a commitment our Estate has taken upon itself. The motto of the Henri Giraud Estate is: “Preclude nothing, be bound by nothing, make good wine naturally.” the word ‘naturally’ here is used in the sense of ‘with nature’. Since ancient times wine has been an integral part of the Human Adventure. It is a specifically human creation which, above and beyond a simple concentration and conservation of energy, is designed to nurture the intellect and social construction. To be Human is to be Unique. To produce naturally is to dedicate all one’s experimentation, acquisitions, culture, sensitivity and passion to the greater good of wine. That passion is nothing less than the culmination of individual experience..”
Human adventure is at the center of your vision of ‘Natural wine’?
C.Giraud: “Others have said that wine should possess “the head of its terroir and the guts of its maker”, terroir here being a living sense of place. It is detrimental to suggest that natural wine can be the result of pure chance; on the contrary it is the deliberate choice of freedom, of curiosity, innovation and endeavour to obtain the “best possible result”. It requires the deepest personal implication, sticking to the most positive and universal human principles and values. Natural wine brings together the ideal of perfection and material constraints and forms the perfect synthesis out of them. It is the union of creative liberty – the liberty of choice – of vision and of permanent challenge…in short, the Human Adventure.”