Pairing known as impossible Champagne and Cigare (2/3)


On a living and fertile land, there is a precious green garden right in the midst of the vines, sitting on limestone and nestled on the slopes of the Montagne de Reims. Here, two passionate winemakers, Marie-Noëlle and Nicolas Rainon, have been able to step aside in front of the truth of their terroir. This way, they honor their wishes to create great Champagne wines and thus chisel cuvées with a unique structure and minerality, reflecting the sincerity of their living lands. Uncompromising winegrowers, Marie-Noëlle and Nicolas dare to make bold choices, their feet always firmly rooted in their land to preserve the energy of wine and nature.


Since 1991, Marie-Noëlle – 5th generation of winegrowers on the Henriet-Bazin estate – has picked up the family torch with dignity and humility. Working in concert with her husband, Nicolas Rainon, her goal is clear : to craft wines expressing who they are and how they see things while preserving safe and sound the energy of nature. Together, these two terroir lovers take great care of their 7.75 hectares, divided into 35 plots located on the northeast slope of the Montagne de Reims in the villages of Villers-Marmery – land of this family estate -, but also Verzenay and Verzy as well as Faverolles-et-Coëmy. With a sustainable approach applied on the vineyard since the end of the 1960s, the conversion to an organic method, blended with biodynamic principles is not really a surprise for these committed winegrowers.

“We treat our vines and our wines just like we would like to be treated : with care, attention and delicacy. Therefore, the nature and the terroir are at the heart of our approach, ” explains Nicolas.

Chalk, silt colluvium, sand, pebbles of millstone, gravels, brown clays … the diversity and individuality of their soils and subsoils are rigorously preserved thanks to a rigorous approach in terms of viticulture. For the two winemakers, working their terroir with passion while making the most of each of its expressions, thanks to exposure, altitude, slopes and soit type variations, is essential. Marie-Noëlle, as a true nature lover, also takes advantage of her great knowledge of her terroirs through a tillage approach adapted to each plot profile.


On the winemaking side, no wine expert : she’s the cellar master. She makes the blends herself with a great sensitivity and finesse thanks to a deep understanding of geology, as well as a real and active listening of the wines which are vinified plot by plot. A meticulous work that allows her to express rightfully the terroirs of the estate with elegance, but above all with a great precision and minerality. As for the oak barrels, Marie-Noëlle and Nicolas have once again made the choice of the terroir, since they had tailor-made two barrels by the local cooperage : one from Villers-Marmery wood and the other from Verzy. The resulting champagnes are well-balanced and elegant, but above all offering an impressive minerality.



Proud of their terroir and their history, using the name of the first Vintage produced by Gaston Henriet in 1896, was obvious for Marie-Noëlle and Nicolas. This elegant blend cuvée is exclusively made from grapes from the 2010 harvest with :

  • 40 % of Premier Cru Chardonnay from Villers-Marmery, coming from terroirs of pure chalk gravels soils with East exposure.
  • 60% of Grand Cru Pinot Noir coming from plots with a North-East exposure and terroirs of Belemnoids chalk, located in Verzy and Verzenay.
A vintage enhanced by a Brut dosage of 8gr / L.
The color is an elegant light gold with slight light straw yellow shines. The effervescence is fine and lively. The first nose reveals some buttery pastry notes, as well as aromas of dried fruits and honey. After a few minutes of aeration, the wine evolves towards notes of hot baked apple, fig and candied fruits such as lemon, quince and apricot. As for the palate, the attack is rather frank, highlighted by a nice freshness and a creamy effervescence. The notes are fruity and the acidity is well integrated. Then comes the chalky minerality and salinity, elegantly enhanced by the aromas coming from the aging and the concentration of the finish, which offers a nice persistence highlighted by some very light menthol notes. A champagne that is both fresh, delicious, complex and precise, offering a nuanced and evolving aromatic palette.

A cigar from the Flor de Selva House, which, since 1995, highlights the Honduran terroir to the connoisseurs through its smooth and balanced cigars.
Made exclusively from tobacco leaves from Honduras terroirs, this cigar has quiet and measured strength, just like the champagne. It is therefore quite logical that the two match.
First the appearance of the cigar : it is characterized by its shell head ; for that matter, it is said that it is a little the ideal cigar with champagne: its shape, the diameter really allows a great harmony. Its wrapper is shiny, without too much veins and contains a fairly dense filler – tripa. The nose develops slightly woody flavors and natural tobacco aromas, with oak and pleasant cedar notes. The palate offers a good amplitude and an impressive subtlety. The cigar is both delicate and balanced. The first third brings aromas of roasted coffee with a slight oakiness, as well as subtly spicy vegetable notes. The second third elegantly develops aromas of caramel, roasted coffee and fresh hazelnut, to evolve towards a coherent and subtle finish, more earthy, but without any bitterness. This last third offers notes of cocoa, precious woods and a slight acidity on the finish.
A beautiful harmonious expression of the Honduran terroir.

Result of the pairing

While other more powerful cigars would tend to get the upper hand over the champagne, emphasizing the acidity and the notes of apples, the N°15 from Flor de Selva elegantly highlights the minerality of the cuvée. A perfectly successful harmony, where the tobacco aromas enhance the saline notes coming from the chalk of the Champagne Henriet-Bazin terroir, while letting the different aromas of the Vintage express themselves. On this successful pairing, it is the mineral character that clearly creates the alchemy between the cigar and the champagne.


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