Heidsieck’s “Champagne Charlie” is making a come back

Under EPI ownership, Charles Heidsieck is planning to resurrect its prestige cuvée called Champagne Charlie, which was axed in 1985 when Rémy Martin bought the brand.

Champagne Charlie was launched with the 1979 vintage, and was named after the founder of the house, Charles-Camille Heidsieck, known as Champagne Charlie.

According Stephen Leroux, “Champagne Charlie will come back”… “We have made the wine, but it won’t hit the market for 5-6 years.”

Explaining why the prestige cuvée was discontinued, he said that Rémy stopped producing Champagne Charlie in 1985 after acquiring the house because the group included Krug, which was prioritized as the top-end Champagne in the stable.

“There was Krug, Charles Heidsieck and Piper [Heidsieck], and Krug was the prestige Champagne, Piper the commercial one, and Charles was supposed to be the niche and good-value Champagne, but there was no focus on it,” he recalled.

While Krug was sold to LVMH in 1999, Charles and Piper were acquired by EPI in 2011, under the new owner both houses have been undergoing a repositioning as the company, which is 100% owned by the Descours family, is bringing the houses back to their former glory.

But for those unable to wait for the rebirth of Champagne Charlie, Leroux said that the house is releasing historic vintages of the vintage-dated prestige cuvée from its cellar.

“In the meantime we are selling some of the old Champagne Charlie from five vintages, ’79, ’81, ’82, ’83 and ’85, and this will be under an oenoteque concept in very small quantities.”

The price of these late releases, some of which have already been disgorged, will range from £300 to £600 per bottle, according to Leroux, who also said that all late-releases direct from the Charles Heidsieck cellars would, from this year, receive a special label.

“We are coming up with new labelling for our older vintages, so whether it is Champagne Charlie, Blanc de Millénaires, or Royal Cuvée, there will be new packaging for these wines, which will be released in tiny quantities,” he said. (Charles Heidsieck released a Royal Wedding Cuvée to celebrate the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in July 1981).

 

Source:  Drinks Business

Rosé Champagne Report – Liz Palmer Wine Picker Magazine, Milan, Italy

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The Champagne production zone (AOC) is defined and delimited by a law since 1927, stretching over 34,286 hectares of vineyards. It lies 150 kilometres East / North-East of Paris, and is made-up of plots from 320 villages in five departments: Marne (66%), Aube (23%), Aisne (10%) – also shared by Haute-Marne and Seine-et-Marne. The vineyards are also divided by “crus”, a qualitative division of the appellation. Of the 320 villages, 17 are Grand Cru and 42 are Premier Cru.

Champagne terroir has two major distinguishing features: northerly latitude and a dual climate that is subject to oceanic and continental influences. The Champagne region is located near the northern limits of the wine world along the 49th parallel, with the coordinates of 49°5 and 49° North – this means cold climate and harsh weather conditions. The oceanic influence brings steady rainfall and the continental influence ensures ideal levels of summer sunlight, but often causes devastating winter frosts.
The average annual temperature in Reims and Epernay) is 11°C. This complex weather pattern distinguishes the Champagne viticultural zone from the other terroirs in the same group.

The subsoil in Champagne is predominantly limestone –including the outcrops, which consist of sedimentary rock (75% limestone), chalk, marl and limestone proper. This type of subsoil provides good drainage and also imparts that particular mineral flavour found in certain Champagne wines.

These regional differences lead to different styles of wines, different and aromas developing in the fruits.

On 4 July 2015, in Bonn, Germany the UNESCO World Heritage Committee delivered a decision to include the “Champagne hillsides, houses and cellars” on its World Heritage list.
“The property encompasses sites where the method of producing sparkling wines was developed on the principle of secondary fermentation in the bottle since the early 17th century to its early industrialization in the 19th century. The property is made up of three distinct ensembles: the historic vineyards of Hautvilliers, Aÿ and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Saint-Nicaise Hill in Reims, and the Avenue de Champagne and Fort Chabrol in Epernay. These three components – the supply basin formed by the historic hillsides, the production sites (with their underground cellars) and the sales and distribution centres (the Champagne Houses) – illustrate the entire champagne production process. The property bears clear testimony to the development of a very specialized artisan activity that has become an agro-industrial enterprise.”

R O S É C H A M P A G N E

Rosé Champagnes are distinct from brut and blanc de noirs in that they are noticeably and intentionally colored, with hues that span from light pink to copper salmon. There are two main methods of creating this style:

Blended or Rosé d’assemblage

This method is most common – it allows the producer to obtain colour and density identical year to year. It consists of blending still white wine (before its second fermentation) with 5 – 20% of red wine, vinified to be non tannic.

Macerated or Rosé de saignée

This process consists of allowing the grape must to remain in contact with the skins of black grapes (Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier) for a few hours. The natural pigments in the skins begin to colour the juice and at the same time enrich the juice with their aromatic components. Rosé de saignée champagnes are generally richer in taste and have a vinous character, which makes them particularly suitable to be served with food.

Rosé Champagne is produced in both vintage/millesimé and non-vintage versions. Although there is variation in the sweetness levels, the wines are most often dry (brut or sec) in style.
Rosé Champagne account for 3-5% of Champagne’s yearly production. Most of the Champagne houses have this style their portfolios, including: Krug, Laurent-Perrier, Billecart-Salmon, Dom Pérignon, Cristal Veuve-Clicquot. With Billecart-Salmon and Laurent-Perrier’s leading the pack in making Rosé champagne a speciality.
UK is Champagne’s largest export market – sales increased by 6.1% in 2014 reaching 32,675,232 bottles. While US is the second largest export market – sales grew slightly, up 7.3% to 19,152,709 bottles, with rose up 14.4% to 2,758,364 bottles.

US figures 2010-2014

Total Export Rosés % export
2010 134,364,880 11,437,497 8.51%
2011 141,328,649 12,699,146 8.99%
2012 137,349,432 13,004,384 9.47%
2013 137,639,340 13,371,939 9.72%
2014 144,870,262 13,731,634 9.48%

Rosé Top Ten Markets 2014

2014 Country

1 ETATS-UNIS
2 ROYAUME-UNI
3 ALLEMAGNE
4 JAPON
5 SUISSE
6 ITALIE
7 BELGIQUE
8 ESPAGNE
9 NIGÉRIA
10 RUSSIE

Some salient characteristics of our favourite Rosé Champagnes:

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Dom Pérignon Metamorphosis Rose 2003
Exquisite soft rose-colour with nose of cherry and soft citrus; creamy textured and precise with flavours that are complex and rich; focused and elegant with subtlety and depth; graceful and well balanced with a long echoing finish.
96 Points

Roederer Cristal Rosé 2002
Medium pink hue with lively effervescence; soft aromas of strawberry, cherry and blood orange with some notes of butter and dried flowers; crisp Chardonnay -underlay pinot fruit on the palate with a very silky, long finish.
93 Points

Krug Rosé – NV
Pale salmon colour (with some subtle hint of pink) and fine bubbles; aromas of rose hips, ham, mulberries, redcurrant, peony, pepper & pink grapefruit; mouthfilling but refilled and elegant layers of honey, citrus and dried fruit with long finish.
96 Points

Delamotte Brut Rosé NV
Very pale, delicate rose hue; fresh berry fruit and blood orange come through on the nose and palate, with some chalky mineral notes – medium finish.
92 Points

Pascal Doquet Brut Rosé Premier Cru NV
Pale salmon colour; aromas of red fruit, flowers, and minerals lead to a palate with hints of strawberry, toast, and minerals – fresh and ample mouthfeel.
92 Points

Perrier-Jouet Rose Belle Epoque 2004
Light salmon pink; with delicate aromas of floral, strawberry, raspberry, orange and pink grapefruit; fresh, refined attack with subtly crisp notes of pomegranate and pink grapefruit; full-bodied with a long, silky finish.
94 Points

Charles Heidsieck, Brut Rosé Réserve
Very pale pink, rich toasty aromas with creamy texture; finely honed acidity lending a mouthwatering impression to flavors of crème de cassis, toasted brioche, lemon curd and roasted almond; long, spicey finish.
93 Points

Liz Palmer

Champagne’s Positive Price Mix Leads To Sales Growth In U.S.

imagesChampagne sales in the U.S. market climbed by 1.2% to about $477 million last year, despite a 3.5% drop in depletions to 1.24 million cases, according to Impact Databank. The U.S. performance was still 6.3% below the $508.8 million achieved in 2006.

Major producers like Moët Hennessy’s LVMH were experiencing an encouraging price mix with prestige cuveés, rosé and vintages in high demand. LVMH’s top two sellers in the U.S. Moët & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot enjoyed a combined market share of approximately 60% while both lost volume last year down 7.3% and 0.9%, respectively. Among the U.S. market’s other leading Champagne brands, third-ranked Perrier-Jouët was flat, while fourth-ranked Nicolas Feuillatte and fifth-ranked Piper Heidsieck were up by 1.6% and 2%, respectively.

Champagne’s new product activity focused on high end markets, i.e., Champagne Charles Heidsieck launched a new brut ($65) and rosé ($80) réserve expressions in September 2012 to mark 160 years in the U.S. “Demand will continue to increase as appreciation and prestige of Champagne continues to rise,” says Cecile Bonnefond, CEO, Champagnes Piper-Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck.

Global Champagne sales, meanwhile, inched up 0.2% to approximately $5.68 billion, despite a 4.4% shipments decline to 25.73 million cases. Champagne’s growth in emerging markets such as China (+51.8% to 167,000 cases in 2012) has raised concerns about long-term supply. Champagne’s total stocks in 2012, however, were 120.3 million nine-liter cases with a stock–to-shipment ratio of 4.7 years, well above the ideal level of three years.

The geographical area of the Champagne AOC will begin to be revised later this year and gradual plantings could begin in 2015 and end in 2020 in a process not expected exceed a maximum 1% to 2% of the existing AOC. “Champagne AOC area is limited and volume growth will be limited one day,” says Etienne Auriau, CFO, Veuve Laurent-Perrier & Co. “However, for the moment, we have enough stock to supply the market for the years to come.”

Source: Shanken News

Champagne Expert Coming To New Zealand To Share Secrets

Communications Director for Piper-Heidsieck, Christian Holthausen is coming to New Zealand to educate New Zealanders on the art of serving and drinking champagne.

The American-born champagne expert divides his time between Maison Piper-Heidsieck in Reims, France and traveling the four corners of the world sharing his knowledge of champagne production, history and culture.

Mr Holthausen represents two of the most prestigious champagne brands in the world, Piper-Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck, both blended by Chef de Caves Régis Camus, awarded the “Sparkling Winemaker of the Year” trophy by London’s International Wine Challenge in 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Piper-Heidsieck has been producing champagne since 1785. Known for its extravagance and style, Piper-Heidsieck was the preferred champagne of Marie-Antoinette at the Royal Court of Versailles. and Marilyn Monroe who once famously declared that she started each morning with a glass of Piper-Heidsieck. Over the years, Piper-Heidsieck has worked with some of the biggest names in fashion and design, from Jean-Paul Gaultier to Jaime Hayon to Viktor + Rolf to most recently, Christian Louboutin.

Not one to be ignored, Charles Heidsieck has a rich history in its own right and is widely recognized as one of the most critically acclaimed champagnes by the most discriminating juries.

Few New Zealanders know that Robert Falcon Scott left Christchurch with several cases of Charles Heidsieck with him on his ill-fated journey to the South Pole in 1910, or that Queen Elizabeth II was served Charles Heidsieck by President Eisenhower on her first official visit to the United States after her coronation in 1952.

Mr Holthausen says he is looking forward to sharing his passion for the Champagne region -“Champagne is one of the most spectacular wines in the world, albeit one that needs to be demystified. It is perfect on so many occasions, from the simplest to the most extravagant,” says Mr Holthausen.

During his stay in New Zealand, Mr Holthausen will be hosting an exclusive Champagne Master Class before traveling around the country as part of the Hancocks Winemakers Tour, revealing some of the secrets of champagne to the nation’s top wine trade.