Charles Heidsieck’s champagne is undoubtedly some of the most prized champagne in the world. The cellar managers here have been awarded Sparkling Winemaker of the Year no less than twelve times, and the wines themselves have seen numerous victories in competitions organised by the biggest wine magazines. Incredible renown for this champagne house founded in Reims in 1851.
This champagne house is the work and legacy of an exceptional man who made quite a name for himself in the world of fizz. In 1851, at 29 years of age, Charles-Camille Heidsieck. Pragmatic in his approach, Charles concentrated on the process of making and ageing his wine, purchasing forty-seven chalk cellars that date back to the 3rd century BC. This labyrinth of underground tunnels has the perfect humidity levels for leaving wines to age and evolve.
Charles Heidsieck was one of the first champagne producers to successfully export his sparkling wine. Greatly helped by his strong personality and natural audacity, he became known as Charlie our champagne man among high American society. He even managed to sell 300,000 bottles throughout the American Civil War, a sign of his bold and certainly dedicated approach. Having met with such great success across the Atlantic, Charles eventually returned to Europe, where the plan was to propel his champagne maison to even higher heights! Going on to provide the royal courts of Europe with his fine produce, I think we can say he accomplished his mission.
In 2011, Champagne Piper-Heidsieck, as part of the Rémy group, was handed over to the luxury French group EPI, which is run by the Descours family.
The savoir-faire persists
The maison comprises around sixty hectares of vines in the Marne and Aube regions, with the help of other vintners and cooperatives making up for any lack in provisions. The estate is committed to eco-friendly practices that encourage biodiversity, and it now has a certificate in sustainable viticulture. This is a comprehensive and demanding programme that covers everything from how the soil is nourished to how waste is managed.
Charles Heidsieck’s philosophy continues to inspire, particularly through the estate’s wine managers, among some of the most reputed in the region and awarded the prize of Sparkling Winemaker of the Year 12 times at the prestigious Wine Challenge. After Thierry Roset, it’s Cyril Brun’s turn to keep this legacy of excellence going, creating a perfect balance between the separately-crafted crus. These are made from Champagne’s three varietals: Pinot meunier, Pinot noir, and Chardonnay. The wines mature for three to fifteen years in natural, underground cellars, even though the appellation demands just 15 months for non-vintage champagnes. This extensive aging confers extra depth and unctuosity to the wines. Over the years, this estate has established a range that is rare in its high quality.
Charles Heidsieck’s style is unique and can be distinguished even among such fine company as we find in the region of Champagne. Racy cuvées that lean more on the side of the Chardonnay grape, these are part of a limited production.