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News

Champagne Charles Heidsieck Releases "La Collection Crayèrs": an Oenothèque Program for the Ages

For the first time ever, an extensive collection of rare vintage Champagnes from Charles Heidsieck will be released directly from their oenothèque under the “La Collection Crayères” program. The House’s chalk cellars in historic Reims hold the prestigious library collection, where they have been stored since being bottled, and 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of the purchase of the unique Gallo-Roman cellars.

At a time when most Champagne houses were investing in their own vineyards, Charles-Camille Heidsieck made the bold move of foregoing his own land and instead turned his focus on perfectly aging his wines. Purchased in 1867 by Heidsieck, the 47 chalk cellars, or crayères, date back to the 2nd century and provide the optimal atmosphere for long-term aging of the House’s prestigious Champagnes. Located close to 100 feet below ground, they hold several million bottles that age a minimum of four years, and, for the La Collection Crayères bottlings, up to 40 years. As of 2015, the cellars have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

Stephen Leroux, Executive Director for the House of Charles Heidsieck, explains, “Opening our oenothèque to the public is a passionate and powerful act. We want to enable wine lovers to obtain these bottles and have unforgettable experiences; it echoes the House philosophy. What’s more, distributing such rare bottles in a responsible manner whilst ensuring a minimum are available for future generations, is an exercise in balance.

This first-ever offering from the prestigious La Collection Crayères will include five incredible cuvées: 1985 Rose Millésime (SRP $399); 1983 Brut Millésime in magnum (SRP $799); 1985 Champagne Charlie (SRP $449); 1982 Champagne Charlie in magnum (SRP $1,200); and 1981 Cuvée Royale (SRP $799).

Wines from La Collection Crayères will also be offered at auction by Christie’s on December 9th, 2017 in New York. Highlights of the sale include the much celebrated “Champagne Charlie” special cuvées from the 1980s; the House’s highly awarded Blanc des Millénaires Blanc de Blancs, with vintages dating back to 1983; jeroboams of the 1989 Brut Millésime; vintage Rosé back from 1985; and a number of bottles of the historic Cuvée Royale from the 1981 vintage.

La Collection Crayères Champagnes will be available in extremely limited quantities at the beginning of December at select fine wine outlets through the House’s national importer, Folio Fine Wine Partners.

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History

In 1851, a 29 year-old Charles tempts fate and founds a champagne house that is a true reflection of his character.

‘The vineyards must remain in the hands of the growers and their expertise’. Charles chooses to leave the vineyards in the hands of those who know them best, nurturing their talent, their knowledge and their respect for the terroir.

A pragmatist, he decides to concentrate on producing and ageing wine, and purchases forty-seven Chalk cellars dating from the 11th century. This labyrinth of underground alcoves and galleries offers ideal conditions for ageing and enhancing his wines. His intuition will be rewarded.

Driven by confidence and instinct, Charles ensures his wine reflects his personality, going so far as to give it his first name. This decision causes quite a stir in Champagne.

However, it is not enough for this cosmopolitan creator… he craves a wider audience for his exceptional wines – the world awaits.

 

In 1852, trusting his intuition, Charles leaves for America, the promised land still untouched by the champagne trade. If there is to be champagne in America, it will be his and no other.

A charismatic dandy, popular with the powerful and the press. An undeniable icon, perceived as an ambassador for champagne and France, Charles seduces New York society and its business bourgeoisie. Furthermore, he wins over the South, including wild Louisiana. He becomes known as ‘Champagne Charlie’.

On returning to Europe, he turns his attention first to Belgium and then England. Lauded and decorated at the Universal Exhibitions, his labels soon start to sparkle in all the royal courts. If Europe and the United States have succumbed to the charm of his fine bubbles, a greater conquest still awaits. Having gained territorial control, he must now conquer time and continue to produce exceptional wines year after year, century after century! A challenge for which he is more than a match.

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Winemaking

Each wine has its own personality, its own affirmed and generous character.

Freshness and elegance from the Chardonnay. Structure from the Pinot Noir. A generous helping of fruit from the Pinot Meunier.
While the decision to blend equal proportions of the year’s varietals is a strong commitment, to harmonise them demands an exceptional savoir-faire.

With a wealth of secrets passed on by Daniel Thibault, star cellar master of Champagne, Thierry Roset, Cellar Master, has been cultivating this art for a long time for the benefit of Charles Heidsieck.

Thierry Roset creates delicious harmonies with aplomb, using the notes obtained from vinification in separate vats. He plays with this delicate balance between complexity, depth and texture.

To attain and maintain excellence requires constant vigilance. Charles understood this and we continue to ensure that this balance is maintained. A perfect blend resulting from our decision-making at every stage of production – decisions always informed by the pursuit of excellence, rather than convention.

The Brut Réserve, our iconic cuvée, comprises the three champagne varietals in equal measure, taken from 60 carefully selected crus. The very essence of Champagne in a bottle. The 40% reserve wines used in the blend are on average 10 years old. Once bottled, the wine is aged for a minimum of three years in chalk cellars, or ‘crayéres’. An exceptional ageing process for an extraordinary wine.

And since the reserve wines develop with time, Charles Heidsieck lets them express themselves, carefully following their progress as they evolve in silent, dimly-lit chalk cellars.

Depth and texture. These key words take on their full meaning as we vinify cru by cru, varietal by varietal. The demand for refinement is apparent at each stage.

Whereas the Appellation stipulates a minimum 15-month ageing period, Charles Heidsieck ages its non-vintage champagnes for at least three years. Stored in a maze of forty-seven chalk cellars, they lie in galleries twenty metres underground where the temperature remains a constant 10%. A peaceful haven, ideal for ageing gracefully.

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12 different wines with 87 vintages

Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Essi Avellan MW / Editor of the Champagne magazine, Pro (Finland)  tasted  2 wines  from  Charles Heidsieck . In a tasting of  44 wines 

Champagne Magazine's The 100 Best Champagnes 2018-tasting / Day 1

8d 13h ago

 Valtteri Malmivirta, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Charles Heidsieck . In a tasting of  17 wines 

A blind Champagne tasting is a good way to spend Saturday evening with friends.

13d 20h ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Charles Heidsieck . In a tasting of  45 wines 

BWW-Finalist Dinner at restaurant Palace with 40 finalists.

2m 30d ago

 Charles Heidsieck  has news

Champagne Charles Heidsieck Releases "La Collection Crayèrs": an Oenothèque   more ...

3m 19d ago

 Valtteri Malmivirta, Pro (Finland)  tasted  2 wines  from  Charles Heidsieck . In a tasting of  16 wines 

New Year party with Dom Perignon Rose 2002, Petrus 1972, Yquem 1990 etc.

3m 19d ago

 Edward Cuvée, Pro (Finland)  tasted  4 wines  from  Charles Heidsieck . In a tasting of  15 wines 

whatta party :P 

3m 27d ago

 Essi Avellan MW / Editor of the Champagne magazine, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Charles Heidsieck . In a tasting of  35 wines 

The Best 100 Champagnes 2017 -tasting, Day 3 - Blanc de Noirs Champagnes.

6m 16d ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Charles Heidsieck . In a tasting of  37 wines 

Champagne Magazines annual the Best 100 Champagnes 2017 tasting - Day 4 with new vintages from Dom Pérignon, Cuvée Winston Churchill, Armand de Brignac, Charles Heidsieck etc.

7m 2d ago

 Tuula Hällström, Wine Collector (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Charles Heidsieck . In a tasting of  13 wines 

Some higlights from yesterdays Champagne tasting: Dom Perignon 2009, Palmer 2009, Winston Churchill 2006 etc.

7m 9d ago

 Essi Avellan MW / Editor of the Champagne magazine, Pro (Finland)  tasted  2 wines  from  Charles Heidsieck . In a tasting of  37 wines 

Champagne Magazine's The 100 Best Champagnes 2017 - tasting started with Rosé Champages.

7m 21d ago

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