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Jancis Robinson MW
“The one wine poured solo rather than one of a pair made up of 2002 and 2004 in this comparative tasting, so not really blind. Mytik cork. Not the tensest of these champagnes but beautifully balanced. Super-pleasant with everything in place. Great confidence. A good follow up to the copious 1995?”
A masterpiece from the Côte des Blancs in a legendary vintage. 17 years’ worth of complexity and yet so fresh.
A precise selection of Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs - 4 Grands Crus and 1 Premier Cru.
A unique emotion, an impression of eternity, much like the feeling one has when standing in the heart of the 2000-year old chalk cellars after which this wine is named.
17 years’ worth of complexity.
More than 15 years maturation in the heart of the 2000-year old gallo roman chalk cellars after which this wine is named.
This legendary wine, which has been awarded numerous medals and trophies, deserves an exceptional case: the gift box, which mirrors the curves of the crayères cellars, echoes the nobility of this location where nothing counts except time itself.
Today, all the pieces in the Charles Heidsieck puzzle are finally finding their place. Rémy Cointreau acquired the house of Piper Heidsieck in 1990, and since then a merging of the two houses has taken place. The company is now P&C Heidsieck, with all vinification and cellaring taking place under the same roof by the same qualified hands.And quite a winery it is. The companies left the crowded ancient cellars in the heart of Reims and moved to more spacious surroundings on the outskirts of the town in 2008. The new ultramodern design winery has all the latest winemaking equipment as well as fantastic touristic facilities.
However, nurturing two brands in one winery evidently poses some problems. At P&C Heidsieck differentiation is managed by separating the house styles and brand images. The flashy-red marketing driven brand Piper’s champagne is fresh, vibrant and easy to drink. The wines for the more restrained and classic Charles are rich and evolved, very much a crafted for the gastronomy.
When I visited the cellar at blending time, I was given an interesting tasting exercise. I sampled a dozen still wines from all three grape varieties and altering villages. My task was to decide whether the base wine should go to Charles of Piper depending on the style. The aspired styles for both houses became crystal-clear to me when I was picking structured wines for extended aging for Charles and lively fruit-forward samples for Piper.
The winemaking hands at P&C Heidsieck belong today to Régis Camus, who took over in 2002, when Daniel Thibault passed away unexpectedly. Fortunately, Camus had worked together with Thibault for years. Consequently, the change has not brought about drops in quality or alterations in style. Even though replacing someone as legendary as Thibault is not easy, Camus has shown his capabilities as a great blender especially via the steadily rising quality of Piper Heidsieck and the numerous trophies earned by Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve and Brut Rosé.
The secret is out. If you have not yet encountered Charles Heidsieck, now is the time to get to know Charlie!
Weather: The 2004 vintage saw an initial winter of mild temperatures with intermittent storms and hail. The spring and summer months were hot and sunny and the sugar levels late in September produced good quality fruits. A huge harvest in general for the region. Overall many experts believe that 2004 is one of the greatest vintages of the last two decades.
A great example of how large yields do not necessarily mean poor quality in Champagne. As a reaction to the previous year's low yields, the vines produced one of the largest crops on record. The growing season proceeded without major difficulties but the bumper crop called for bud thinning. August brought about cooler weather and some rains, increasing the risk of rot. The massive crop, averaging 13,990 kg/ha, was picked from September 18th onwards. The quality was a pleasant surprise; vibrant wines with appropriate intensity, refined charm and refreshing lightness. This vintage impresses me more and more, and I feel tempted to give it the full five stars. It comes with a rare balance of freshness, lightness, yet fine aromatic intensity. Post-release, this vintage has proven to be slow to age, and elegant wines are likely to keep on ageing gracefully. Dom Pérignon and Louis Roederer Cristal both excelled.