Charles Heidsieck, Blancs des Millénaires 1995
Having just returned from a fun day out at the Liberty Wines portfolio tasting in Edinburgh, I had to write up one of the newest wines we have from them. Charles Heidsieck’s warm cosy place in my heart as one of the great champagne producers was just now confirmed by the utterly magnificent Blancs des Millénaires.
Big Charlie produces really excellent champagnes, with one of the largest reserve wine stocks of the region lending a subtle power and heft to the almost crystalline purity of their wines. They also only release their non-vintage champagnes after a minimum of three years, allowing the yeasty lees to impart their complex bready notes to the wine. But with their vintage champagnes that unctuous elegance and firm presence become something else altogether.
Charlie’s Blancs des Millénaires, a 100% grand/prem cru Côte des Blancs Chardonnay champagne named for the 2000 year old Roman chalk cellars in which all Charlie’s wines are aged, is just sublime. It’s all alluring hints, with an underlying freshness that belies the age of this distinguished champagne. On the nose dark honey and baked apples, with a touch of dried intermingling and giving a savoury flair. The palate opens with sultanas and creamy hazelnut, demonstrating the development of the wine over time, a gentle oxidation emerging in characterful complexity. That classic brioche opulence, the hallmark of those masculine Charlie wines, lingers while a truly remarkable lemon freshness is buoyed up by a luxurious, soft, mousse that carries through to weighty finish. Just superb.