Back-Vintage Champagne Marvel: 1996 Henriot Cuvée des Enchanteleurs

Posted by Ian McFadden

Back-Vintage Champagne Marvel
1996 Henriot Cuvée des Enchanteleurs
Henriot's finest bottling comes of age

Coming across this parcel was like stumbling upon a trove of riches I thought had all disappeared.

The 1996 vintage was extraordinary in Champagne, but it's a vintage I thought I had seen the last of. The hype over these wines came, rabidly, and then the wines disappeared.

Henriot's '96 Enchanteleurs dramatizes the scarcity of the vintage - there are just a few listings in the U.S. including magnums.

Finding tête de cuvée Champagne at this level, with age on it, and at this price doesn't happen very often. This was one of my most exciting purchases in recent memory.

Henriot's '96 Enchanteleurs has become one of my serious heartthrob wines. This wine has been irresistible since release, and even at 18 years old, I suspect it will continue to be so for another 10-15 years. The '96 is easily the best young Enchanteleurs that I've tasted. It's clearly a "breakout" vintage for the wine.

It's not just that it's long-lived. This is a wine that feels like it will never shut down

Henriot is distinctive for its deft integration of richness and fine-grained elegance, but Enchanteleurs is on its own level entirely. The result is seemingly impossible depth and complexity, but also an indelible freshness and the sensation of perpetual youth. There are dark, seductive autumnal notes, and still, somehow, the wine manages to radiate light. This is high contrast, deep saturation.

Enchanteleurs ages extremely well. I've had mind-blowing bottles going back to the 1950s, and this '96 is shaping up to join its longest lived predecessors.

For a bottle with perfect provenance, 18 years of age, and the potential to go strong for 18 more, the value here is pretty impressive. This is a last-chance return to the momentousness that was the 1996 vintage in Champagne—I'd advise you not to miss it.

To order, reply to or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Ian McFadden
Director, Fine and Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits