Charles Heidsieck is one of the most admired Champagne houses thanks to the unrivalled and consistently high quality of its wines. Founded in 1851 by the man who would become known as ‘Champagne Charlie’, this family-owned house is the smallest of the Grandes Marques. Their size, and commitment to excellence, has been underpinned by a winemaking team that between them have been named 'Sparkling Winemaker of the Year' at the International Wine Challenge 16 times. This Millésimé 2008 was composed of ten Grand and Premier Crus (Oger, Vertus, Chouilly, Cuis, Verzy, Aÿ, Ludes, Ambonnay, Tauxières and Avenay) each meticulously selected by the Chef de Caves. After the first fermentation in stainless-steel vats, the wines were racked to separate the lees and then underwent malolactic fermentation to soften the natural acidity and improve texture. After blending the two varieties, the cuvée was bottled and yeast added for second fermentation. The bottles were placed in the cellars in spring 2009, and remained ageing on lees for ten years. After disgorgement and dosage of 8g/l, the wine was aged for a further six months before release.
The 2008 Brut Millésime from Charles Heidsieck continues to perform superbly, opening in the glass with a youthfully reserved bouquet of pear, yellow apple, citrus oil, honeycomb, dried white flowers and warm biscuits. On the palate, its mdeium to full-bodied, deep and incisive, with a racy spine of acidity, a pinpoint mousee, excellent concentration and a long, elegantly chalky finish. The 2008 is still several years from showing all its cards, but its a brilliant Champagne in the making. Disgorged in February 2019 with 8g/l dosage this is Heidsieck's finest vintage bottling since the 1980s. 95 Wine Advocate (Tasted Aug 2019).
The 2012 is a blend of ten Grands Crus and Premiers Crus meticulously selected by the House, expressing magnificent minerality, intensity and acidity. This exceptional cuvée was aged for ten years in Gallo-Roman Crayères. True to the Charles Heidsieck style, Millésimé 2012 already displays all the elegance and power of an outstanding vintage, qualities which will only be enhanced with time. In regards to the vintage in Champagne, most 2012 have a great balance with purity of fruit and chalky minerality and with the potential to rival the 2002 and 2008's.
'A dangerously drinkable wine' according to chef de cave Cyril Brun, and I wouldn't contest that. I adore it for its inviting approachability, pure fruitiness, vibrancy and impeccable balance. The colour is intense with golden tones. The nose is not short of nuances: stunning smoky toastiness and rich biscuit notes are complemented by generosity of fresh and dried fruits ranging from apricots to tropical fruits and zesty lemony layers. It sits between reductive and oxidative styles, leaning safely towards the former. On the palate, the marriage of Charles’ hallmark velvety texture, the invigorating tension and the tiniest bubbles is disarming. Highly creamy and generous but ending on a fresh note of stylish bitterness at the back palate, probably partly due to the drier than usual style, dosed perfectly at 8g/l. A classic blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay with Grand & Premier Cru sourcing from the Montagne de Reims and Côte de Blancs. The key villages are Aÿ, Oger, Vertus, Chouilly, Ludes and Cuis for Chardonnay and Ambonnay, Tauxieres and Avenay for Pinot Noir.' Essi Avelan MW