The change in the weather and advent of summer suggests it is time to consider a mature drinking vintage of champagne and what better than the most undervalued vintage wine on the market. We are delighted to be able to offer the winner of the FINE Champagne Magazine Top 100 Champagnes in 2013, Charles Heidsieck Millesime 2000!
The FINE Champagne Magazine is the only international publication devoted to champagne and it is the prominent authority. Richard Juhlin has been a contributor in each issue since its inception and it is run by the Finnish Master of Wine Essi Avellan. In 2013 Charles Heidsieck Millesime 2000 triumphed with an aggregate 95.19 points, outstripping competitors such as Krug 2000, Tattinger Comtes de Champagne 2002, Cristal 2004 and Dom Perignon 2003.
Charles Heidsieck 2000 costs £41 in bond and £53 per bottle duty and VAT paid; therefore only costing approximately £10 more than the other great houses’ non-vintage champagnes and half the price of their prestige cuvees. In addition to this its other accolades include winning the Gold Medal in the International Wine Challenge; the International Wine and Spirit Competition and Decanter World Wine Awards in 2012. Jancis Robinson and Bettane & Desseauve score it 18/20 and the Decanter awards arrived at an aggregate score of 19.43/20.
The eponymously named Charles Heidsieck was established in 1851 and remains one of the greatest names in Champagne, producing some of the finest champagnes in the world. Charles is credited with popularising champagne in the United States and was given the nickname Champagne Charlie. Although during the American Civil War he was imprisoned as a suspected French spy and worse a Confederate. This triggered an international incident which became known as The Heidsieck Incident; although I am sure Charles would be horrified to know he was played by Hugh Grant in the 1989 biopic Champagne Charlie.
The foundations of the House’s recent success was established in 1985 when Remy-Martin, the proprietors, gave Daniel Thilbault, their remarkable winemaker, carte blanche and almost no financial restraints in order to arrive at the best possible vintage and non-vintage cuvees. Daniel Thibault, died in 2002, but his vision, techniques and philosophy continue under the direction of his assistant Regis Camus.
All blends are assembled in the spring following the harvest and therefore it is possible to document the exact age of the base wine that makes up each cuvee. The Heidseick 2000 Millesime is selected from 58% Pinot Noir and 42% Chardonnay. The Champagne displays a golden hue warmly reflecting the Indian summer experienced in 2000 and the twelve years of ageing, (minimum 36 months on its lees) takes place surrounded by the thousand year old chalk found in their cellars in Reims. The combination of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay result in a voluptuous mouth-feel with a wonderful fresh acidity. The palate offers delightful flavours of forest ferns intermingled with floral notes such as musk rose. The Pinot Noir delivers a lovely delicate spice, with notes of white pepper and liquorice. The palate emanates black and redcurrants and the renewed acidity provides notes of chestnuts. In addition to this, ripe fruit flavours jump from the glass, with apricots, acacia, dates and honey, underplayed beautifully by the chalky acidity: the finish simply goes on and on.
Heidsieck Millesime 2000 is a veritable no brainer, it can be drunk this summer, or laid down for years to come: the quality versus price is unparalleled. Indeed it is vintage champagne to serve blind and discover if your guests can distinguish it from the most prestigious cuvees, the world’s leading critics clearly suggest one cannot!
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