fredag 19. juli 2013

Champagne of the Year 2013

Den tradisjonell champagnefrokosten i Vinklubben ble avholdt lørdag 25.mai 2013.
Tilbudet av champagne er jo blitt formidabelt i Norge de siste årene, noe denne smakingen bar preg av.
Og spesielt liker vi champagne fra produsenten Charles Heidsieck...

Champagne Brut 1979, Charles Heidsieck

Strågul mot gylden. Utviklet stil, men fremdeles rik og pen i tøyet. De fleste var på en 20 år gammel champagne. 1990 ? Rolig mousse som dør hen i glasset. Vinøs og utrykksfull. God frukt på den slanke siden. Mangler kanskje litt eleganse og semi-presis munnfølelse. Litt spiss. Ved påfyll mere mot Cristal med sin slanke munnfølelse.Kim hadde med denne og "trodde" han hadde med en Champagne Charlie 1979 ! Men en veldig bra eldre standard vintage var det. Fellesscore 94 poeng.

Champagne Charlie Brut 1985, Charles Heidsieck

Strågul mot gylden denne også. Det var en ganske lik farge på de fleste av champagnene ! Noe mere trøkk og kant i munnen enn nr. 1. Et bredt slep av aromaer i munnen med touch av bitterhet i ettersmak. Mere tydelig autolyse og klassisisme enn nr. 1. Pinot, kremet og en fabelaktig balanserende frisk syre som topper det hele. Livlig i munnen i en utviklet stil, men fremdeles forfriskende. Veldig godt løft i smakskurven der epler og noe gul frukt dominerer. Men syrespiss og du tuller ikke med denne champagnen ! Tatt med av Roar. Fellescore 95 poeng.

Champagne Blanc des Millenaires Brut 1985, Charles Heidsieck

Kraftfull champagne i en mere opulent og rik stil. God mousse med en fantastisk innsmigrende munnfølelse. Mere eik, mere kraftessens og den oozer Cuvee-kvalitet. Fløtekarameller. Gylden, middels dyp, klar og balansert. Stor aromaintensitet med kalk og brioche. Fyldig og delikat og champagne blir ikke så mye bedre enn dette. En  karakterfull champagne som fortjener tittelen CHAMPAGNE OF THE YEAR 2013. Medtatt av Are og den fikk 97 poeng.

The house of Charles Heidsieck has seen something of a renaissance in recent years. It's been making waves with a succession of excellent wines, both vintage and non-vintage. Instrumental in the revival of this house has been Daniel Thibault, who died in 2002. Thibault was an excellent winemaker and blender, and has been responsible for what are probably the finest wines ever to bear the label of Charles Heidsieck.

The origins of Charles Heidsieck lie in 1785, when it started life as a Champagne company under the auspices of Florenz-Ludwig Heidsieck. This firm subsequently gave rise to all the Heidsieck Champagne houses; Charles Heidsieck, Heidsieck & Co Monopole and Piper-Heidsieck. Today both Charles Heidsieck and Piper-Heidsieck are under the ownership of Rémy Cointreau.

Up until the 1980s Charles Heidsieck produced a sound range of wines including a non-vintage Brut, a vintage wine and a prestige cuvée Champagne Charlie. But with the arrival of Daniel Thibault, and the backing of Rémy Cointreau, this was to change. Thibault's coup de grace was to convert the perfectly serviceable non vintage wine into a Brut Réserve. In order to achieve this Rémy Cointreau permitted sales to fall by millions of bottles so that Thibault could build up some reserve stocks. Whereas most houses have only a few vintages at their disposal for the production of the non vintage cuvée, Thibault had over eight vintages. Masterful blending of these older wines into the non vintage cuvée - which is, you may or may not agree, beginning to sound more like a multi-vintage prestige cuvée along the lines of Krug NV or Laurent-Perrier's Grand Siecle - with the reserve wines comprising up to 40% of the final blend, is what results in such a fabulous wine. Fabulous in it's own right, but particularly so if value for money is a concern. Further success came in 1997 when the already successful Brut Réserve was relaunched as the Brut Réserve Mis en Caves. With this change in designation Thibault was able to provide information regarding the non vintage cuvée by providing a date of cellaring on the label. The cellaring date follows on from the dated of the base vintage, so the Mis en Caves 1992, the first release, was comprised of 40% reserve wines and 60% the 1991 vintage. This model has continued with great success, with one of the most successful blends being the Mis en Caves 1997, based on the outstanding 1996 vintage. Overall I believe that this practice has been a great success for the consumer, who now actually know what they are drinking, unlike the situation with other non vintage cuvées which give no indication as to the base wine or blend at all. As such two bottles of externally identical non vintage Champagne may in fact contain two completely different wines. There is no such problem with the Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve Mis en Caves range, however, and later vintages also included the date of dégorgement.

The range of wines produced here, other than the Brut Réserve Mis en Caves, includes two vintage wines the Brut Millésime and Brut Rose Millésime, both based on 30% Chardonnay and 70% Pinot Noir & Meunier, with the rose produced by the addition of red wine rather than the saignée method. The prestige cuvée currently produced is the Blanc des Millénaires, a pure Chardonnay cuvée. Although the Brut Réserve wines have seen great acclaim, Charles Heidsieck has not been raking in the profits. Sales have fallen, partly out of necessity whilst reserve stocks were built up, partly because the Mis en Caves concept took the basic cuvée out of the non vintage market somewhat. And the difference in quality between the Mis en Caves wines and the vintage wine has narrowed sufficiently to make the non vintage wine the preferred buy, affecting sales of the vintage wine. In addition, the once popular prestige cuvée Champagne Charlie is no longer produced, replaced by Blanc des Millénaires, which has not made the same impact as its predecessor. For the consumer though, the situation is good - the Brut Reserve Mis en caves wines offer extraordinary quality at an excellent price. I hope the currently evident quality is maintained by Daniel Thibaults's replacement, Régis Camus. (24/3/04)

Régis Camus is the chef de caves for both Charles Heidsieck and Piper-Heidsieck. He has an incredibly difficult job in that he must oversee two completely different wine lineups, each with their own style and fan base. I recently had the chance to sit down with Régis and discuss his vision and philosophy for Champagne. Assisting with some of the translations in our conversation was Charles Heidsieck/Piper-Heidsieck‟s International Communications Director Christian Holthausen

¤How difficult do you find it to oversee two completely different wine brands?
At first, it was very challenging as we had two very different wine styles and customer bases, each of whom expected the wines to be very different. We wanted each wine to excel and express itself in its own unique way. Each wine needed its own identity, which meant that we had to learn to think in two different directions at the same time. All of the wines for both Charles Heidsieck and Piper-Heidsieck are vinified together and we have to determine which wines go into each brand every year. While certain wines normally swing one way or the other, we start each year with a clean slate. You know, the more I do this, the more I enjoy making both wines. I view them as two train tracks that never cross each other, butinstead run side by side.
¤To you, what are the differences between Charles Heidsieck and Piper Heidsieck?
The most obvious distinction is that Piper-Heidsieck is the larger brand, by a good margin. We produce around eight million bottles of Piper-Heidsieck compared to two million of Charles Heidsieck. The NV Piper-Heidsieck is a fresher wine that is built from younger wines and bright citrus. The reserves in a NV Piper-Heidsieck can fall as low as six percent and tend to be fairly recent. In contrast, Charles Heidsieck is more complex and built upon a minimum of forty percent reserve wines stretching back well over a decade; it is full of creamy, dough based notes and hints of vanilla and nuts. These basic profiles go through the entire range of each brand to some degree. It offers consumers two very clear choices and wines that match beautifully to a wide array of food.

 Charles Heidsieck has always had a philosophy of using a large amount of reserve wines in the NV Brut Réserve. Why and how did this come about?
This was the brainchild of my predescesor, Daniel Thibaut. The classic non-vintage Champagnes have always been built around a large amount of reserve wines spanning a decade or more. Daniel was given the opportunity to create his dream wine and that is how the NV Brut Réserve was born. Daniel insisted on at least forty percent of reserve wines and made sure that the non-vintage blend took precedence over all else. I completely agree with this direction and have continued this trend as it leads to a very high quality non-vintage Champagne.

 The NV Brut Réserve is really the staple of the Charles Heidsieck house and has been praised for many years. How has it remained consistently good for two decades?
As I have explained, we are dedicated to this wine above all other wines that we make. A non-vintage wine is often seventy to ninety percent of your sales and the benchmark of your brand, so it has to be good. Even before the NV Brut Réserve Mis en Cave series was launched, the Brut Réserve (sans Mis en Cave) was a complex wine with forty percent or more of reserve wines. It is key to use a good amount of high quality reserves and to give your non-vintage wine first choice of whatever wine or grapes it wants.

 What wines have been the most challenging for you to make?
It is always the non-vintage cuvees. A good vintage wine can take care of itself, but to make a good non-vintage wine year in and year out takes a lot of effort and can be a difficult job. In a way, we are lucky because we have a large stock of reserve wines. This helps to make a consistently good non-vintage wine, but is also challenging from a blending perspective.

 You used to clearly list the base vintage and disgorgement on the NV Brut Réserve, but have now changed directions on this. Why?
I was and am a strong supporter and believer in the Mis en Cave (base vintage) labeling and the clearly written disgorgement date. Unfortunately, the market found both confusing and in the long run, it was not the best move for business. We still list the disgorgement date on the neck foil of each bottle (rather discretely), but have dropped the base vintage designation. Consumers can still write us with their lot number and we will tell them whatever information they wish to know. If it didn’t cost us sales, we would be all for listing more information.

 How did Charles Heidsieck and Piper-Heidsieck find their way back together again after so many years apart?
Both Charles and Piper (along with Heidieck & Co. Monopole) started from the original Heidsieck brand. We all went our separate ways in the nineteenth century, but Remy Martin brought Charles and Piper together again. Rémy-Cointreau (which was known as Rémy Martin at the time) purchased Charles Heidsieck in 1985 from Henriot right before Veuve Clicquot took over Henriot. Rémy then purchased Piper-Heidsieck in 1989 from the d’Alaun family and combined Charles and Piper-Heidsieck into one strong Champagne group.

 I really enjoy the Blanc de Millenaires, but have never found it to be
the true heart and soul of Charles Heidsieck in that it doesn’t call on
strong Pinot Noir; is Champagne Charlie ever going to come back?
People love Champagne Charlie. It is amazing to me that a wine that was only made from 1979 – 1985 can invoke so much passion. I have always liked the wine and we may one day bring it back, but for right now, it isn’t a wine we release in new vintages (though we do sell older vintages that we store in our oenotheque). It would be nice to see a prestige Charles Heidsieck cuvée with a good amount of Pinot Noir, but I don’t think our current prestige cuvée, the 100% Chardonnay Blanc de Millenaires (which debuted in 1983), is too shabby.

 What’s the story with Piper-Heidsieck Rare going from vintaged to non-vintage to vintaged again?
When Rémy purchased Piper-Heidsieck in 1989, Piper had its prestige cuvée called Rare. At this same time, Rémy also owned Krug and wanted to focus on making sure Krug had the “prestige” spotlight. As such, the Rare cuvee was discontinued after 1990 so as not to compete with the Krug line. When Rémy sold Krug to LVMH in 1999, things changed and we were asked to do a Piper prestige wine. With little time to get something on the market and no past plannning, the first few releases were non-vintaged in order to make the wines of high quality and still be able to get something out for the consumers. As we had time to plan for a vintage version of Rare starting in early 1999, we could set aside some of the best wines from 1998. Starting with the 1999 harvest, we were able to completely plan for it. It should be no surprise then that the “new” vintaged Rare debuted on the market with the 1998 vintage.

 Are there plans to release a 1996 Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Millenaires?
I can never say 100% to anything, but there will likely be a small release of this wine in the coming years. The wine is still in need of more time to mature since the 1996 vintage was very strong with a lot of acidity, but the wine will be beautiful. Whether the release will be 2011, 2012, or 2013, we don’t know yet. You will just have to stay tuned. When it is ready, we will release it. Look at the 1995 right now, it is fifteen years old and is very, very enjoyable. We want the 1996 to be this good or better – so we will wait for the right time.

 I know that Florens-Louis was once a vintage prestige cuvée of Piper
Heidsieck, but it is now a non-vintage wine. What exactly is the current
version of the Florens-Louis?
Florenz-Ludwig Heidsieck, aka Florens Louis Heidsieck (the French re-naming of a German name), founded the Heidsieck house in 1785 that eventually splintered into the three Heidsiecks. In honor of our founder, Piper-Heidsieck created their first prestige cuvée called Florens-Louis. It was a vintage wine, but was discontinued at the end of the 1970s in favor of the Rare cuvée. We have recently brought it back as a non-vintage wine that has a similar makeup to the basic NV Brut, but is aged longer on the lees and has a a lower and different dosage. It is not found in all markets

 Piper-Heidsieck was once known as a non-malolactic wine, but it now goes
through full malolactic fermentation; why was this change made?
I don’t think anyone can truly say that Piper-Heidsieck was always a non-malolactic wine. It certainly didn’t always go through malolactic, but there were times when it did so naturally – at least to some degree. I think the reputation it had as a non-malolactic wine stems from the fact the wines were not forced to undergo malolactic. We made the change in 1998 to put the wines through malolactic fermentation because we thought it made the end product better. While the lack of malolactic fermentation may not have been a big deal on the vintaged wines, the non-vintage cuvees are what the house is known by and Piper-Heidsieck’s non-vintage range is released on the young side and so doesn’t incorporate a large amount of reserves. Avoiding malolactic is not always the best recipe for success, especially when many consumers buy your Champagne shortly after release and plan to drink it the same day. We also do not think going through malolactic fermentation has cost the wine anything in terms of aging.

 I know Piper-Heidsieck has experimented with different wines in the US market. What is the story behind this?
Piper-Heidsieck and many other Champagne houses have always paid attention to their biggest growth markets and through the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970’s, the United States was a key market. A vintage Rosé called Piper Pink was made specifically for the US market and it was different from the normal Millésime Rosé that we released throughout the world. From the 1950s until the 1970s, we also created a US market vintage cuvée called “Goût de l'Ambassadeur” or “Taste of the Ambassador”.

 You have had the unbelieveably hard job of following in the
footsteps of legendary winemaker Daniel Thibaut. What
was it like to work with him and eventually take over from
It was an honor and a thrill. Daniel brought me over to Charles and Piper-Heidsieck in 1994 to assist in achieving his vision. He was a tireless worker and taught me a lot about winemaking and his philosophies on blending. It is very sad that he is not with us anymore (Daniel Thibaut passed away rather unexpectedly in 2002), but he was smart enough to make sure we had a good continuity plan in place and I am doing the same. None of us will last forever and we need to make sure that the next generation understands what we did, has a library of wines to learn and

Champagne Blanc de Millenaires Brut 1985, Charles Heidsieck

Strågul og i et mere urent trav enn forrige flaske Noe stillestående myrvann i nesa med antydning til råtten duft. Sjøaromaer og flere var på Blanc de Blancs. Noe kork kommer etterhvert med champignon og gummistøvler. Utviklet stil og ingen trodde dette var den samme champisen som flasken ved siden av. 91 poeng. Medtatt av Jon.

Og vi hadde en ganske lik flaske ifjor på Champagne of the Year 12.5.12; Moden, lys gylden, servert litt varm, enorm mineralitet, men skjemmende korkduft sitter i. Bedre på smak, men selv ved påfyll merkes korkduften. Klassisk stil med tydelige og markerte gjæraromaer og god mineralitet. Synd ! 89 poeng og sisteplass. Ca. kr. 2 200,- på Vinmonopolet Vika.

Champagne Blanc de Blancs Jacques Selosse 

Gylden farge og den mest utviklede stilen i rekka. Honningtoner med skrot/nedfallsepler som har ligget litt for lenge på bakken. Kremet og rik og ørlite oksidasjon. Enorm aroma og noe diskusjon mht kvalitet/sherryaromaer. Har fremdeles kraft og "staying power"  for en videre utvikling. Degorgert i 1993. 95 poeng. Kim ga denne 97 poeng. Medtatt av Øyvind.

Notat Øyvind Jacques Selosse Blanc de Bl gogget 1993. Facebook/Vinforum 26.5.13:
Hadde samme vinen på CotY smaking med Norges Beste Vinklubb (tm) i går. Havnet på 3. plass av 6, med 95p (og det i en klubb som er gjerrige på poengene!)
Denne åpnet et par timer før smakingen, og deretter helt i 6 små(!) glass. Fulgt i 2,5 timer derfra. Den mest utviklede av de 6 Champagnene, men holdt stand utover hele smakingen. Kom seg faktisk ytterligere på slutten, og vant et par poeng hos de fleste mot slutten. Nydelige lagringsaromaer av nøtter og smørkaramell, med en herlig balanserende syre. noe bunnfall i flasken, og selv om dette havnet i glassene, var det ikke sjenerende for opplevelsen. Dette er en Champagne jeg ville åpnet og latt stå med åpen kork i flere timer før smaking. Tror dette ville gi den det nødvendige løftet - og ville fremstilt bedre fra get-go.
Håper jeg får tak i flere

Gard Kverneland 24.5.13: Rett fra flasken, 15 grader. Masse ristede nøtter, skorpe på nybakt brød, strålende frukt på nesen mot tørket aprikos og papaya. I munnen startende kaffe toner, tørket tropisk frukt, nesten ingen bobler igjen. Mangler friskheten ift tidligere flasker, men ikke for høyt på Herfjord skalaen. Etter 30 min i flaske, 13,3 grader, fortsatt enormt mye brødbakst i form av skorpen på et godt stekt og rykende ferskt brød. I munnen har vinen bygget seg opp en del mer intensitet, frukten er mer konsentrert, modningsaromaene er tydeligere med brente kaffebønner. Åpen flaske (halvfull) i 2t, 11,5 grader, brødbaksten har roet seg ned, men fortsatt tilstede, mye klassiske modne aromaer som vinen har gitt tidligere, frukten er fortsatt flott om vell moden ift tidligere flasker, mangler friskhet. 91p

Champagne Diebolt - Vallois Fleur de Passion 1996

Lysere gul farge, den lyseste i rekka. Typisk 1996 friskhet, men samtidig frukt nok. Flere mener at 1996 syra nå "spiser opp endel flasker", men denne var bra. Antydning til eik, kremet og fløte. Toppcuvee-aktig i stilen med Pinot i toppfrukten. Flere var på Krug. Lang ettersmak med klassiske toner av gjær og autolyse. Mye frukt og denne kan fremdeles lagres. 95 poeng. Roar ga denne 97 poeng. Medtatt av Øistein.

1 kommentar:

  1. Ser dere konkluderte med 97P på 1985 Blanc des millenaires.
    Vil si meg ganske så enig i deres oppfattning.
    Vi hadde denne nylig ved et fellestreff for medlemmer i Vinforum. Trur vi konkluderte med 95P. Jeg kan ikke si hva denne vinen skal trekkes for. Men at den kan rykke opp noen hakk. Det er jeg positiv til.
    Hadde en Grand Anne Bollinger 96 i fjor som aldri glemmes, denne var nokså bra, om ikke bedre ( fra eget syn )
    Eirik Søreide