Although Charles Heidsieck is both the best and the most famous of the three Heidsieck houses, it was the last to be founded of the three. It took 66 years after that Florence-Louis Heidsieck laid the foundation for the Heidsieck clan before Charles-Camille Heidsieck founded the house in 1851. In 1857, Charles-Camille made his first trip to America. He quickly became ‘Champagne Charlie’ with the Yanks and became so famous that his name appeared in the lyrics of music hall performances around the States.
Charles Heidsieck was owned for a while by Henriot, but was sold in 1985 to Remy-Cointreau Group. Daniel Thibault was chef de caves here and at Piper-Heidsieck before he all too soon passed away in February 2002. Today’s winemaker Régis Camus follows the path producing the same deliciously roasted style. Before the peerless Thibault entered the scene the house didn’t own any vineyards. Today, they have 30 acres in Ambonnay, Bouzy and Oger. Standard Champagne ‘Brut Réserve Mis en Cave’ is currently among the best on the market and the vintage wine is always a delight to follow.
The decision to lay down Champagne Charlie and replace the prestige champagne with Blanc des Millénaires has been praised by many. Personally, I had liked to have seen both got a place in the portfolio. All the wines are nicely toasted. There will be no easy task for Daniel Thibault’s successor Régis to fill the void that the already legendary winemaker leaves behind. However, often a 5-star house.
IN THE GLASS? CHARLES HEIDSIECK ‘BLANC des MILLENAIRES’ 1995 | 100CH | Reims | RJpoints 93(94) | TASTING NOTE ‘Heidsieck’s ‘new’ cuvée de prestige (4th vintage – ’83, ’85, ’90, ’95) is a constant winner at blind tastings all over the world. It’s fantastic to see a new release on the marcket with som ematurity. Most cuvée de préstige today are ’05s (Cristal), ’04s (Comtes de Champagnes, Belle Epoque, La Grande Dame), ’03s (Dom Pérignon), & ’00s (Winston Churchill) et al. So silky-smooth and with such intensive nut toffee! The toastiness is there, but lying swimming in an oily nectar which prevents it from really making its way forward as it does in many other vintages. Pretty mousse and uplifting charm. I love th e17 years of complexity in the new ultra-sophisticated design as well!’
IN THE SPEAKERS? Nouvelle Vague – Just Can’t Get Enough – A38