Most Admired Champagne Brands 2017: 16-30


It’s now 40 years since Alain Thiénot, then a courtier in Champagne finding good sources of grape supply for other producers, bought his first vineyard – 6ha in the Grand Cru of Aÿ. He added plots in the Grand Cru of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and these formed the basis for the house of Thiénot, founded in 1985.

From the outset, the aim was wines dedicated to gastronomy and the on-trade. The vineyard holdings have been built to around 30ha in the best premiers and Grand Crus over the years and this supplies more than 80% of the grapes needed for producing around 350,000 bottles. This is a family operation, now run by Thiénot’s son, Stanislas, with his sister Garance also involved. Her meeting with street artist Speedy Graphito was the catalyst for a colourful, limited-edition magnum of Thiénot Brut NV, a wine that, thanks to four years ageing and a 45% portion of reserve wines in the blend, is a step up from most non-vintage offerings and especially good in magnum.

The three high-quality vintaged family cuvées, are all serious, age-worthy wines, a fact recognised in second releases of Cuvée Alain Thiénot, now on the celebrated 1996 vintage. The new 2008 ‘Garance’ Blanc de Noirs, a mix of Aÿ and Mailly Pinot Noir, really impressed when tasted in December.