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CHAMPAGNE PIPER-HEIDSIECK APPOINTS NEW CELLAR MASTER

Champagne house Piper-Heidsieck has announced the appointment of Séverine Frerson as its new cellar master, as former incumbent, Régis Camus, takes up the role of cellar master of Piper-Heidsieck’s Rare Champagne.

Selected by the former cellar master, Régis Camus, to be his deputy cellar master in 2015, Frerson joined Piper-Heidsieck back in 2002.

Born and raised in Champagne, she studied oenology at the University of Reims before joining the Comité Champagne in 1997, where she worked for two years. She then took up a position at Veuve Clicquot, where she worked alongside cellar master Jacques Péters.

At Piper-Heidsieck, she has held a range of roles including head of winemaking for Piper-Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck.

Camus will now take up the role of cellar master for Rare Champagne, the house’s prestige brand, after naming Frerson as his successor. After studying biology and biochemistry, he also trained as a winemaker in Reims, joining a Champagne cooperative before starting at Piper-Heidsieck in 1994.

Commenting on the moves, Benoit Collard, global executive director for Piper-Heidsieck, said: “Like a “maestro of varietals”, the cellar master is in charge of the style, finesse and quality of all the various cuvées produced by our house. For many years, Régis Camus fulfilled this role flawlessly, shepherding Piper-Heidsieck, founded in 1785, to the pinnacles of excellence. The International Wine Challenge jury rightfully recognised his work, awarding him the title of “Sparkling Winemaker of the Year” on eight different occasions.

“His successor is Séverine Frerson: a cheerful and determined young woman who has worked hand in hand with Régis for a long time. We nominated Séverine because she is exceptional. She has the intuition, vision and expertise necessary to lead Piper-Heidsieck to even higher summits of perfection and success.

“In addition to her role as cellar master, Séverine will personify Piper-Heidsieck. We aspire to having this little-known profession be enhanced by Séverine, who speaks more elegantly than anyone about the house’s wines and loves sharing her favourite picks.

“To sum up, a woman who is capable of charting a new course in our history, providing a link between our craft and lovers of Champagne, between our most magnificent vintages and those who cherish our house already, or those who will soon discover us. Congratulations, Séverine!”

 

 

In 2013, for the fourteenth time, Maison PIPER-HEIDSIECK’s Cellar Master was crowned Sparkling Winemaker of the year by the International Wine Challenge. It is the eighth title for Régis Camus. Daniel Thibault, his predecessor, had won six awards. 

 

“Like a schoolboy, for me the year begins in September, with the harvests. We harvest and press the grapes and carefully make them into wine. From the end of October, we begin the first tastings of the clear wines.  This stage allows the team of oenologists to get into the right mind-set for the year ahead.  In December, the wines are allowed to rest and thenfrom January, we begin tasting them again. If the wine is full enough, if the year is good, we can anticipate making a vintage. The wine then has to be bottled, as well as not forgetting to build up our collection of reserve wines. These allow us to enrich our library: some of the wines in there are 30 years old, all different, all unique. I know it by heart, I dream of it at night. Champagne definitely embodies conviviality, sophistication, extravagance… But a PIPER-HEIDSIECK champagne is also a great wine to be enjoyed in its own right. With the cuvée Brut, the Maison’s signature and a bond of trust with champagne lovers, you are certain of ready-made luxury. With other cuvées, you can taste something more precise, a more golden colour perhaps, more candied citrus notes, or more toasted hints. With PIPER-HEIDSIECK Rare, our Prestige Cuvée or certain vintages, you then move into the world of haute couture and “handmade” wine.”

Régis Camus

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History

It all began with Florens-Louis Heidsieck. Born in Westphalia in 1749, this son of a Protestant minister started out as a draper in Reims where he fell in love with a girl from Champagne… and with the wine from Champagne. He was a self-educated man, overcome with the incredible ambition “to make a cuvée worthy of a queen”. In 1785 he founded the Cloth and Wine Trading Company Heidsieck & Co. He straightaway made his name with a distinctive champagne, whose reputation quickly spread beyond the local region and won favour at court.

On the death of Florens-Louis Heidsieck in 1828, Christian Heidsieck, his nephew and Henri-Guillaume Piper, a talented man with tremendous business acumen joined forces. From Hapsburg princes to Chinese emperors, 14 royal and imperial courts granted him the distinction of becoming their “authorised supplier”. High society around the world coveted “the Piper by Heidsieck”. In 1835, Christian Heidsieck suddenly died and, in 1838, his wife remarried Henri-Guillaume Piper. And thus the PIPER-HEIDSIECK brand was born.

 

Upon the death of Henri-Guillaume in 1870, Jacques-Charles Théodore Kunkelmann, a partner since 1851, took over the reins at PIPER-HEIDSIECK. In 1892, his son, Ferdinand-Théodore, succeeded him. His daughter Yolande married the Marquis Jean de Suarez d’Aulan in 1926. A pioneering aviator, this amazing man came onto the scene and promoted the Maison all around the world from behind the controls of his own aircraft. During the Second World War, this tireless and courageous man of action agreed to hide weapons, in his cellars for use by the Champagne Resistance. And the eve of his arrest by the Gestapo, he escaped to North Africa where he became a fighter pilot for the famous Lafayette Escadrille Squadron and died in combat in 1944. The PIPER-HEIDSIECK Maison was placed under sequestration by the occupying forces. After the liberation of France, the Maison would almost certainly have collapsed, if it had not been brilliantly relaunched by his wife Yolande, seconded by General d’Alès, whom she would later marry in 1945.

 

François d’Aulan the eldest son of the Marquis Jean de Suarez d’Aulan and Yolande Kunkelmann, took over the business in 1957 He presided over PIPER-HEIDSIECK Champagnes for thirty-three years. During this time he focused on the development of the company and the preservation of the family heritage. In 1988 he passed on the torch to the Hériard Dubreuil family, who consolidated the international development of the Maison. Then in 2011, the Descours family took over the reins. Christopher Descours, grandson of Jean-Louis Descours, a major figure in the National Council of French Employers, who holds the future of this great Maison in his hands. What a history!

 

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Vineyards

The beautiful region of Champagne does indeed produce the most discerning and delicate sparkling wines in the world. However, making wine here, on the northern limit for vine growing, is an extremely daring undertaking. Of course, the PIPER-HIEDSIECK Maison owns precious wine-growing land from the Montagne de Reims to the Côte des Bar. However, the majority of the hundred growths used for the blending of its signature cuvée, a full bodied wine, come from growths carefully chosen from those most representative of the diversity grown in Champagne. From amongst the region’s traditional grape varieties, a privileged place is given to Pinot Noir (55 to 60%). It gives structure to the composition. Chardonnay grapes (10 to 15%) add elegant nuances. Pinot Meunier (15 to 20%) expands the blend with its fruitiness. The precious reserve wines (10 to 15%) correct any vagaries of nature. They balance out the current harvest wines and perpetuate the signature of PIPER-HEIDSIECK’s non-vintage Brut. The result is a delight for the senses. On the eye, there is an explosion of fine bubbles and golden glints as if the wine contained all the shades of the Champagne sky. The nose reveals subtle springtime aromas of citrus, apple and pear. In the mouth, the wine is forthright, structured and fruity.

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Winemaking

The harvested growths are vinified separately with due patience and care: variety by variety, growth by growth, in order to respect the typicity of their origins. The more nature is allowed to do its work, the less need there is for the wines to be filtered, centrifuged or racked and the better they will be. PIPER-HIEDSIECK has practised this gentle, almost loving method of winemaking for more than ten years. It is its hallmark and a guarantee of unfailing excellence.  In order to preserve this quintessence, everything which touches the wine and which the wine touches is strictly controlled and monitored. Once a new piece of equipment or a new technique is proven to contribute to this quality, it is incorporated into the creation process. Dating from 1995, the magnificent winery is without doubt the best example of this. And finally, its coveted treasure, the reserve wines, is placed into secure cellars, which are kept at a strictly controlled temperature.

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Inside information

As a pioneer of dialogue with the art world, the PIPER-HEIDSIECK Maison has contributed greatly to enriching the world of champagne. With the aim of expressing the precious character of its wines, it seeks to adorn its bottles with sumptuous finery. What could be better than jewellery to express the raw gold inside? In 1885, to celebrate one century of its existence, Jacques-Charles Kunkelmann commissioned Pierre-Karl Fabergé, jeweler to Alexander III, Tsar of Russia, to design a bottle in diamonds, gold and lapis-lazuli. One hundred years later, the PIPER-HEIDSIECK Maison celebrated its bicentenary with a new creation: a bottle set with diamonds and gold by Van Cleef & Arpels, inspired by the original Fabergé design. It was valued at over one million francs at the time and travelled all over the world handcuffed to armed officers! The encounter with creativity continues via fruitful collaborations. The most daring creators are invited to shake up the established order, with always the same demand for prestige.  

In 2012, in tribute to its exceptional history, Rare was wrapped in a 64g 18-carat gold tiara created by Arthus-Bertrand. The bottle set with its tiara was sublimated in a glass display thus revealing an exceptional giftbox. Only 10 such pieces were produced for the world. This jewellery masterpiece elegantly draped a magnum of the Rare Vintage 1998 and was showcased for the 160th anniversary of the first department store in the world – Le Bon Marché, in Paris. 

 

PIPER-HEIDSIECK celebrates its bicentennial with a bottle set with diamonds and gold, created by Van Cleef & Arpels.

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15 different wines with 83 vintages

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Wine Moments

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

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Piper-Heidsieck . In a tasting of  35 wines 

After a loooong wait of two long, we got finally the world's best champagne fair – Grand Champagne – organised. Superb bunch of chefs de cave, great selection of champagnes and bubbly atmosphere, what else do you need! And the best champagne for me was........Charles Heidsieck La Collection de Crayères 1981 in Jeroboam (98p)! 

3d 3h ago

 Markus Del Monego MW/BWW2022-Best Germany Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  4 wines  from  Piper-Heidsieck . In a tasting of  34 wines 

A wonderful tasting of classic brut Champagne, elegant rosé and excellent prestige cuvées was one of the highlights in January.              

3m 10d ago

 Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  2 wines  from  Piper-Heidsieck . In a tasting of  11 wines 

Gaja Sori San Lorenzo 2016 / 99 points / Another wine with a Burgundian silkiness (tannins this good can be hard to find in young Nebbiolo), the 2016 Barbaresco Sori San Lorenzo offers a more exotic bouquet of spiced red plums, licorice, dried herbs, rose petals, and flowery incense. This is a ripe, incredibly sexy, opulent Barbaresco that stays pure, ultra-refined, and elegant on the palate, with both tannins and acidity perfectly integrated. As with the Sori Tildin, it took plenty of air to show at its best, and despite offering incredibly pleasure today due to its balance and ripe tannins, it's needs 5-7 years of bottle age and will cruise for 25 years or more.

4m 6d ago

 Richard Juhlin , Wine Writer (Sweden)  tasted  2 wines  from  Piper-Heidsieck . In a tasting of  31 wines 

Thiénot x Penfolds Blanc de Blancs 2012 / The dosage stored in Penfold's Australian barrels. In all three wines where Peter Gago had a hand and his barrels in the production, you have an added and impressive power and butterscotch oakiness. The wines are simply larger and more expressive than in the steel tank-fermented prestige champagnes from Thiénot. The very best in the trio with a Comtes de Champagne-like opulence and fullness. Even more roasted and coffee-scented than the model and at least as smooth texture. Not quite the same depth and elegance, but it is a fantastic champagne in any case.

5m 18h ago

 Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  2 wines  from  Piper-Heidsieck . In a tasting of  15 wines 

Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 / In the running for the wine of the vintage, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is an incredible success and offers more depth, opulence, and purity than just about every other wine out there. Revealing a dense purple color as well as a killer nose of blueberries, chocolate-covered cherries, scorched earth, tobacco, violets, and exotic spices, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a seamless, pure, incredibly layered mouthfeel, building tannins, and a great, great finish. As with most top 2017s, it stays tight and compact on the palate, with notable structure and impressive concentration. It has some up-front appeal given its purity of fruit and balance, yet it's going to take 7-8 years to hit prime time and will be a long-lived bottle of Napa Cabernet. Hats off to Doug Shafer and the team for yet another magical Cabernet Sauvignon!

5m 6d ago

 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Wine Writer (South Korea)  tasted  1 wines  from  Piper-Heidsieck . In a tasting of  22 wines 

2004 Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Millenaires / Toasty and layered with wonderful depth and a long finish. This prestige cuvee offers wonderful concentration and is often under-valued in the market compared to its peers. Since 1983, the Blanc de Millenaires is only sourced from 5 villages of Cote de Blanc. 30,000 bottles made per year. Aged for 13 years on its lees and made only every 5-7 years.

5m 17d ago

 Lu Yang / Sommelier, Pro (China)  tasted  2 wines  from  Piper-Heidsieck . In a tasting of  13 wines 

Philipponnat Clos des Goisses 2010 / A beautiful Champagne, featuring fragrant notes of toasted brioche and grilled nut that are more subtle on the palate, transitioning to a rich underpinning layered with a pure chime of tangerine and accents of candied ginger, toasted saffron and lime blossom. This bundles a lot of concentrated flavor into a lithe frame. The fine mousse caresses the palate through to the lasting finish. Perhaps the best one from the 2010 vintage!

6m 10d ago

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Piper-Heidsieck . In a tasting of  30 wines 

100 Best Champagnes 2022 tasting – day 1 behind. Very solid line-up with a handful of super gems! Cuvée R. Lalou 2006 (96p) is still hard to beat although Comtes de Champagne 2011 (95p) did well despite the challenging vintage. Armand de Brignac Brut Rosé (93p) was the best rosé ACE I recall having. For roses, Charles Heidsieck Rosé Réserve NV (94p) is superb find for the value!

8m 12d ago

 Essi Avellan MW , Wine Writer (Finland)  tasted  3 wines  from  Piper-Heidsieck . In a tasting of  56 wines 

The Champagne Magazine's "The 100-Best Champagnes 2022" tasting - Day 2.

8m 12d ago

 Antonio Galloni, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Piper-Heidsieck . In a tasting of  18 wines 

Armand  Rousseau The 2008 Chambertin is rather delicate and almost ethereal in its seductive personality. This is another surprisingly open, expressive 2008. The tannins are elegant, while the wine’s balance is simply terrific. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2038. 

9m 3d ago

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