When Daniel Thibault died, tragically early, in 2002, Champagne lost one of the greatest Chef de Caves of the twentieth century. Few had been able to stamp personality so strongly onto a range; few had created so many great Champagnes from what at times were modest raw materials; few had innovated as daringly and successfully.
Thibault’s successor Regis Camus has quite a challenge on his hands, even though he worked with Thibault for 8 years. The single word that so aptly sums up the Charles Heidsieck style is “cream”: these are soft, caressing Champagnes of ample grain and texture; their flavours are accessible, soothing, nourishing.
Reserves stored on their lees, as you might guess, are a key element for achieving this. The Mise en Cave series, which has replaced the non-vintage Brut Reserve at this house, contains up to 40% reserves, some of 10 year antiquity. These wines, which are released in batches of three different “mises”, are labeled with the date at which they trundle down into the cellars for their second fermentation. They are based, in other words, on 60% of wine from the previous vintage from that shown on the label.
It does mark a break with Champagne tradition and a move away from the branded ideals since difference, rather than consistency is the point; the back labels and neck labels, too, are radically informative. This house also produces two of the most reliably great of all Prestige Champagnes; the lengthily aged, sumptuously creamy, almost fig-fruited vintage Blanc de Millenaire and the deeper, more Pinot-rich Champagne Charlie, packed with tangerine and peach and with a lasso-round style (though with an off-puttingly vulgar label)
Andrew Jefford – The New France
In May 2015 after the tragic death of Cellar Master Thierry Roset, Charles Heidsieck called on reknowned Chef De Cave Cyril Brun to join the team. Cyril is currently in charge of winemaking, vinification and ensuring the House style is positioned and produced favourably, to the unparalled standards that his predecessor's would expect and admire.