We’ve waxed lyrical about Champagne more than enough times at this point for us to go over it all again. And we’re sure that you’ve bought more than enough bottles of your own to know just how amazing this sparkling white wine is.
After all, it was the most popular sparkling white wine in the world until Prosecco overtook it and stole the mantle.
So how about we skip all of that and jump straight into the meat of our review.
We’ve got another great Champagne to test out this week. Hailing from the wonderful Thiénot winery, this Champagne is among the best that we’ve tasted at xtraWine in quite some time.
Before digging into the wine itself though, let’s take a look at the story behind the company that made it.
It all started with a dream.
So many great businesses do. It’s the dream that leads to the vision. And it’s the vision that ultimately leads to the creation of a venture that can have global appeal.
But before you can get there, you must first have the courage to chase the dream.
Alain Thiénot is a courageous man. His dream was always to create a winery that created the very best Champagnes in the world. But it’s a dream that could easily crumble. When faced with producers that have existed for over three centuries, what hope could a young upstart have to make so much as a small dent in the Champagne industry?
Many would have given up on the dream in the face of such insurmountable odds. But not Alain Thiénot.
With over two decades of experience as a Champagne broker under his belt, he felt that he knew the industry inside and out. Perhaps as importantly, he knew exactly what made the best Champagnes so amazing.
And he knew exactly what buyers look for from their wines.
All of this served as the inspiration for striking out on his own. After all, why should he help other producers find buyers for their wines when he knows that he could produce the very wines that his clients look for himself?
His work as a broker had also afforded him the opportunity to travel the width and breadth of the Champagne region. Thiénot may be one of the few people in the world to be able to lay claim to visiting almost every major Champagne vineyard in his search for the perfect wine. And again, he just kept absorbing the information with each visit. He learned what made the best vineyards stand out from those that produced substandard Champagnes.
And that meant he knew exactly what to look for when searching for a vineyard of his own.
Thus, the seeds of the dream were not just planted. They had also had all of the fertiliser they needed to grow into a vision.
With that vision firmly established, Thiénot simply needed the courage to take the first step.
In 1985, the dream finally became a reality.
Leaning on the many contacts that he’d built in the Champagne industry over his years as a broker, Thiénot developed his own project to the point where he was ready to launch his very own winery.
It marked the culmination of a two-decade journey through an industry that he’d fallen head over heels in love with.
His contacts also enabled him to source the very best grapes in the industry. A man who knew exactly what he needed to make the venture work, Thiénot worked with some of the best vintners in the world to create a vineyard stocked with only the very best of what the industry has to offer.
Precision lies at the heart of everything that Thiénot does. It is this precision that gave rise to his desire to focus on quality over quantity.
After all, it would be easy to become one of the many vintners who create so-so wines for mass consumption. But Thiénot wanted the respect of an industry that he’d dedicated his entire life to.
Beyond that, his great respect for the traditions of making Champagne were no so intensely held that they restricted his creative freedom. Thiénot didn’t just want to follow what had come before in his great Champagne adventure. He wanted to create something that had the potential to change the industry. He wanted to innovate and bring new ideas to Champagne that the producers that have existed for centuries may never have thought of.
It is this desire that has formed the bedrock of the company.
And Thiénot has achieved the dream that lay in his mind for decades. His eponymous winery is now one of the most respected in all of France.
It just goes to show that you don’t need centuries of tradition behind you to achieve great things.
Sometimes, all it takes is a dream and the courage to see it through to completion.
So we’ve spoken enough about the inspirational man behind the wine.
Now, it’s time to focus on the wine itself.
The Thiénot Champagne Brut showcases its quality from the moment you pour it. The straw yellow colouring offers just the merest hints of green, which suggest that this is a wine that could spend several months ageing without any issues at all.
To the nose, the wine offers up a remarkable blend of fruitiness that is sure to knock your socks off. The citrus tones that you would expect from a Champagne are all present and accounted for. But it’s the hints of red fruit that may take you by surprise. They’re just one of many examples of the innovative ideas that Thiénot brings to the table.
The first sip is an absolute delight. The fizz is second to none and you’ll enjoy subtle undertones of bread lying beneath the wine’s fruitiness.
It truly is a remarkable Champagne and one that we had a lot of fun testing. The Wine Spectator gave it a 91/100 and we offer a similar rating of 90/100.