At a visit at Charles Heidsiecks cellars back in 2012 Björnstierne asked the cellar master at the time, Thierry Rousset, if there would be a comeback of ‘Champagne Charlie’ while we were sipping on a 1979. He smiled and said ‘time will tell …’ Well here we are!
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
FROM CHARLES HEIDSIECK TO CHAMPAGNE CHARLIE
Throughout his travels, Charles Heidsieck embodied contemporary French glamour. With his distinguished charm and knack for business, he captivated America, becoming a prominent figure of fashionable society in just a few months. Thanks to his easy-going nature, elegance and breeding, Charles focused on making a name for himself and for his champagne.
JOURNALISTS FOLLOWED HIS EVERY MOVE
While American high society fought to invite him… and his champagne. The Americans dubbed him ‘Champagne Charlie’, a nickname soon popularized by a song.
YEARS LATER …
The House decided to create a Champagne Charlie cuvée in tribute to the audacity of its founder. 5 vintages exist: 1979, 1981 1982, 1983 and 1985. In addition to the quality of these wines, no longer available, the powerful heritage of the cuvée has assured the Charles Heidsieck legend.
mv Charles Heidsieck ‘Champagne Charlie’ [cellared in 2017]
45 pn, 3 pm, 52 ch
TASTING NOTE by Champagne Club by Richard Juhlin ‘Oh, how we have longed for a new version of the legendary Cuvée Champagne Charlie! We were a little surprised that it was such a young base wine as Aÿ Pinot Noir from 2016 that will lead the new legend, but that is explained by the fact that the wine consists of 80% mature reserve wines down to 1996. The price tag is sky high, almost on par with old vintages by Champagne Charlie.
The wine is very young and nicely orchestrated with a youthful freshness together with a fullness in the fruit and a nice silky texture. The shades are small and many. Grilled citrus fruits, strawberries, peach and good chrysanthemum minerality. The mousse is exemplary and the wine is very well composed and developable. However, I am personally disappointed as I both expected an even higher level of quality and above all a much more typical house style. There is hardly anything here that I associate with great Charles Heidsieck and even less with Champagne Charlie.
Both the house style and the prestige champagne are usually the Olympus itself of beautiful champagne roasting. The coffee aromas and the roasted pine nuts together with nougat and orange chocolate and brioche are completely missing. I’m sorry to say, but this could just as easily have been a prematurely launched champagne from Veuve Clicquot or Thiénot. I understand that my good friend Cyril Brun did everything to recreate the deeply missed prestige heirloom, but Daniel Thibault had not been happy with the result. I hope that time gives me wrong and that the reductive roasted features will come with time, but at the moment I stick to Blanc de Millènaires which for half the money is clearly better.’