The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2016

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Page 46 of 148

Taking the Reins Gilles de Larouziere closes out his first year as President of Maisons & Domaines Henriot. GILLES DE LAROUZIÈRE'S FIRST YEAR ON THE HENRIOT THRONE by Albert Letizia and Rachel Macalisang M ay 2016 will mark Gilles de Larouzière's first year as President of Maisons & Domaines Henriot, an empire that includes not only his family's 200-year-old Champagne Henriot, but rela- tively recent acquisitions of Bouchard Père & Fils, the largest landowner in Burgundy's Côte d'Or; William Fèvre, the largest array of Grand Cru vineyards in Chablis; and Villa Ponciago, 49 hectares of the best terroir in Fleurie. Gilles was given the reins after the sudden passing of his iconic, industry-shaking uncle, Joseph Henriot. "As a child, Joseph was like a revered, big uncle to me," Gilles recalls. "In his work he was very demanding, very precise and always was asking, 'How can we do better?' It was his obsession." For those unfamiliar, Joseph Henriot shaped the modern history of Champagne as head of Veuve Clicquot, discovered Cape Mentelle in Australia and Cloudy Bay of New Zealand and, arguably, reshaped the global wine market before turning his attention to his family's holdings. But to understand the nephew, one must understand the three words Gilles never utters in relation to Masions & Domaines Henriot. The first word: Winemaker. "I really don't find it appropriate for what we do. I prefer a cellar master who simply helps reveal the terroir and is not shaping the wine." The second word: Marketing. "Marketing sounds like you are telling a story that is not true. I want to share with the world the reality of what we have in our cellars, and our storied brand's history." The last word: Complacency. "Complacency is forbidden in this business. The world has changed in regard to wine. The competition now is not only Burgundy versus Burgundy; it's Burgundy versus Everyone. There is great wine all over the world, so we keep asking 'How can we do better?'" It is with this declaration, Gilles best echoes the obsession of his uncle, proving that Joseph's legacy is alive and well today. PHOTOS COURTESY OF MAISONS & DOMAINES HENRIOT Henriot Brut Champagne Blanc de Blancs NV. Henriot Champagne Blanc de Blancs Cuve 38 La Réserve Perpétuelle. INDUSTRY LEADERS 42  /  the tasting panel  /  may 2016

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