Alain Thienot and son Stanislas. The family is also owner of CVBG, one of Bordeaux’s largest negociants in Grand Cru Classé wines
Alain Thienot is a highly respected name in Champagne. (And Bordeaux, as he is owner of CVBG, one of the largest negociants).
Thienot had worked as a very successful broker in Champagne for some 20 years before launching his own marque in 1985.
The connections cultivated with growers over two decades – and the regard he had earned from them – Alain Thienot was able to source grapes of the most enviable quality.
Modest, and preferring a low profile, Thienot lets his wines and dedicated work do all the convincing.
The Frenchman is also the sort of parent, entrepreneur, and corporate example everyone wishes they have in the family and for an employer.
La Vigne aux Gamins is a small vineyard in Grand Cru Avize in the Cote des Blancs
Generous, far-sighted, and way ahead of the curve in succession planning, Alain has left Champagne Thienot in the hands of his son Stanislas and daughter Garance.
The siblings are equal to the capability, courtesy and humility of their father. People around the world – not just Asians – we share a particularly high opinion of others so well brought up and unassuming.
That said, the cuvées of Champagne Thienot are anything but unassuming.
The wines command serious attention. A recent tasting of three 2008 cuvées not only confirmed it is one of the greatest vintages of all time, but also that Maison Thienot is producing some of the best wines of Champagne.
Champagne Thienot Cuvée Stanislas 2008
A pure Chardonnay, the fruit is 90% Grand Cru between 35% Cramant , 35% Avize and 20% Chouilly. The balance 10% is Epernay. The dosage, at just 4 g/l, makes this an Extra Brut. Disgorged in September 2019, the wine spent 10 years on lees in bottle. Still incredibly youthful, Cuvée Stanislas is just into its secondary plane and has a long future ahead of it. Hazelnuts and dried citrus peel. A light creaminess has set into the texture. Delicious freshness.
Champagne Thienot La Vigne aux Gamins 2008
Another pure Chardonnay but this time all Grand Cru Avize and of a single vineyard. The dosage, at just 2.4 g/l, makes this a Brut Nature or Zero Dosage. Very taut and full of energy, the concentration of fruit and intensity of acidity is like a wound-up top that when released will be uncontrollable. A cascading waterfall of citrus, layer after complex layer, wave after insatiable wave. Unforgiving freshness. Was only disgorged in September 2020.
Champagne Thienot Cuvée Alain Thienot 2008
If Cuvée Stanislas and La Vigne aux Gamins can be a bit demanding because of their very low dosage – 4 g/l and 2.4 g/l respectively – and the fact that pure Chardonnays tend to be more acidic and ramrod, then Cuvée Alain Thienot is the most generous of the trio. Being a blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir, the black Pinot helps tamper the enthusiasm of the Chardonnay. The higher dosage of 6.4 g/l is still very low and at the bottom end of Brut which can go up to 12 g/l. This is an indication of how rich, ripe, but balanced Cuvée Alain Thienot truly is. Most of the fruit is Grand Cru, including Cramant, Avize, Oger for Chardonnay, and Aÿ for Pinot. A hint of nuttiness, aged apple cider, citrus and quince. Loaded with freshness. Great ageing potential.