"If Monty Python had a Champagne, it might be called H.Blin, but no, the name belongs to a small Vincelles co-operative which relies on Pinot Meunier for its point of difference. Here 50% Pinot Meunier plus equal proportions of Chardonnay create a fine vintage blend with developed aromas of digestive biscuit and a full-flavoured, praliney mousse of freshness and distinction."
The H. Blin Champagne house was founded in 1947 when Henri Blin persuaded 28 of his grower friends around the village of Vincelles to join him in building a co-operative winery and business. With little capital to invest, they paid for new equipment with bottles of their Champagne. Today, H. Blin is co-owned by 100 family growers who have 110 hectares of vineyard between them. All vines are treated with minimal recourse to herbicides and pesticides. Today, nearly sixty years later, Champagne H. Blin has 130 hectares, mainly located in the Marne Valley, the cradle of Pinot Meunier. Three grape varieties are used for the production of Champagne H. Blin: Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. No grapes are purchased externally, to ensure total control of the product from grape to customer.
Champagne H. Blin are noted for their predominant use of the Pinot Meunier, a grape variety that gives intense fruity and fresh aromas. H.Blin Champagnes are aged on the lees much longer that the required time, from minimum 20 months for the non-vintage Champagnes to five years for the vintage and six to eight years for the premium cuvées Blin’s.
Tony Rasselet, a qualified oenologist, has been H. Blin’s Director for 25 years and is responsible for the constant investment in the vineyard, the press house and the cellars. Simon Blin, grand son of the founder Henri Blin, and 8th generation of Champagne grower, is its President.
The grapes, from 25-35-year-old vines, on a south-facing, fertile, siliceous vineyard with limestone, are picked by hand. They are then crushed in the press house close to the vineyard and the must is transported to the winery a hundred meters away where stainless steels vats await. Alcoholic fermentation occurs in open, temperature-controlled tanks (16-18°C). Then the malolactic fermentation is allowed to happen naturally. The malolactic fermentation enables a natural reduction of the acidity and avoids the use of violent techniques to mask acidity like micro filtration, over sulphuring or a heavy dosage during disgorgement. Wines are then blended, bottle fermented, aged on the lees for five and a half years, before being disgorged and having dosage added.
An intense straw yellow, with shades of amber, it has an abundant, diffuse mousse. Fragrances of grass and meadow flowers drift out of the glass, alongside indulgent aromas of fresh berries with scents of pineapple. On the palate, you can discover flavours of figs, prunes, apricot, ginger bread and honey.