I Won the 2022 Jancis Robinson Wine Writing Contest! Celebrating with Champagne Henriot 2012


Well, I have some very exciting news, and a cause for celebration!

Remember the essay I wrote for the Jancis Robinson Wine Writing Contest about regenerative agriculture? I was very pleased and surprised that my essay was selected for publication (see here), and then even more so when my essay made the shortlist (see more here!

Today, Sept. 23, Jancis Robinson announced the winners of this year’s contest. I did not make the top three of the vote getters for the People’s Choice, which was won by Diana Hawkins whose essay I enjoyed so much I had my college students read it.

However, judges selected my essay as the overall winner!

As Jancis explains in her article about the winners, One Tree Planted will plant trees in our names, winners and runners ups receive year’s free membership of JancisRobinson.com, and I’ll be mentored by the tam at JR to develop, write and get published (and paid!) for two articles about sustainable viticulture. 

I’m also getting a magnum each of Esprit de Tablas and Esprit de Tablas Blanc from Jason Haas of Tablas Creek, which received the first Regenerative Organic Agriculture Certification in the US. Yes you’ll be hearing more about them and maybe Sue and I will finally visit together– I’ve never been!!

I chose to celebrate with Champagne Henriot because one, BUBBLES! But more importantly, it also offers a story of regeneration: the house has committed to converting to organic viticulture and other sustainable practices! And what a great wine to celebrate Champagne day coming up on the final Friday of October! 

On their website, they explain their commitment as an antidote to global warming; they see organic certification to work itandem with other efforts: “the use of exclusively natural products …requires an increased understanding of the vineyard as well as a strong presence in the vineyard. The House also sees this approach as an opportunity to reinforce the good working conditions of the people who work in the Henriot vineyard. Organic viticulture encourages a strong study of the vine throughout its vegetative growth. Time is given to observation and precision guides the choices of intervention. This favours the realisation of one of the House’s wishes: as much diversity of cultivation as of Terroirs. It is a viticulture that is demanding and requires time. It is also an important need for resources, both in the presence in the vineyard and in the actions that are carried out there.”

I look forward to writing more about this House, as I learn more about their efforts.


Champagne Henriot

2012 Champagne Henriot 

  • ABV 12%
  • SRP $115
  • Blend: 54% Chardonnay and 46% Pinot Noir

This Champagne Henriot bottling represents all “vineyards through the blend of several crus and years and pays tribute to nature. Due to the extreme weather conditions of 2012, the grapes from that year’s harvest produced an incredibly special vintage.” That’s six Grand and Premier Crus!

According to Vineyard Director and Cellar Master Alice Tétienne in a press release, “During harvest, the heterogeneity of the grape profiles resulting from the weather conditions in 2012 made quite an impression. When we made the blend for this new creation, our desire was to capture the diversity of the aromatic profiles while achieving harmonious balance. Millésime 2012 is thus a wine of contrasted harmony.” The wine was aged for 8 years on lees and has 6 g/L dosage.

Appearance: Delicate persistent perlage, like a mini tornado in the middle of the glass. Golden in color, matching the foil on the bottle.

Aroma: Green ripe apple, brioche, marzipan, caramel, clove, cardamon. 

Palate: Very bright and tart; for a 2012 there is so much tart green Granny Smith apples — apples that are fresh, not cooked, with minerality on the finish along with brioche and yeasty goodness.

Pairing: Fresh warm bread with a bit of brie. Brie en croute. The wine loves the creamy richness of the smoked prawns and the brightness of the fennel. The rich smoked spot prawn loves the brioche of the wine. This spur of the moment made up recipe worked so well with the wine. This salad can also work well as a main dish. The uni made such a fantastic salad dressing. It was creamy and tart and perfect with the wine. The butter lettuce and the fennel were complimentary with the wine, as well as the lemon in the dressing a perfect match for the fennel. 

For more information on Champagne Henriot, visit www.champagne-henriot.com, follow @champagnehenriot on Instagram and Facebook, and sign up for Champagne Henriot’s Vinconnect newsletter.

Fennel Butter Lettuce Salad with Smoked Spot Prawns and Lemon Uni Roe Vinaigrette

Serves 2.

Layer the following ingredients in order:

  • Two handfuls butter lettuce
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, shaved
  • 4 Smoked Santa Barbara Spot Prawns, shells removed as desired
  • Roe as recovered from Spot Prawns
  • Best 4 pieces of uni rose 


  • In a small dish, add the juice of 1/2 lemon (or more to taste)
  • Combine with 1-2 T best quality mild olive oil 
  • Gently mix in remaining uni roe 
  • Add salt to taste

Note: While Sue and I tasted and paired this wine in Ventura just a bit in advance of the official announcement, I wrote the blog post not on an airplane to Terra Madre in Torino, Italy as planned… but sitting on the cold hard ground of Terminal 4th Floor of JFK because of a botched connection… Between the snoring dude and the screaming baby, plus the cleaning and the blizzard of announcements, not much sleep is being had so might as well make the best of it and WRITE!

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