This year's winner of the Decanter World Wine Awards International Trophy for the Best in Show Sparkling Over £15 went to Charles Heidsieck, Blanc des Millénaires, Champagne 1995, France.
Charles Heidsieck, Blanc des Millénaires, Champagne, France 1995 (12%)
Toasty with cashew-nut richness and a honeyed nose showing apricot, dried flowers and coffee hints. Smooth and opulent with a lovely mouthfeel and fine mousse. Fabulous style.
UK £145–£165; Bdi, F&M, Har, PLG, Wai, WLW
Tasted against • Codorníu, Gran Codorniu, Finca la Nanssa, Gran Reserva Brut, Cava, Spain 2007 • Loxarel, Cent Nou 109 Brut Nature Reserva, Penedès, Spain 2002 • Chapel Down, Blanc de Blancs, Kent, England 2007 • Taittinger, Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, France 2004 • Azienda Agricola Fratelli Berlucchi, Brut, Franciacorta, Italy 2008 • Heemskerk, Coal River Valley Chardonnay- Pinot Noir, Tasmania, Australia 2008 • Louis Roederer, Brut Premier, Champagne, France NV • Pol Cochet, Brut Rosé, Champagne, France NV • Charles Heidsieck, Rosé, Champagne, France 1999
Winning this International Trophy in 2007 and 2011 (and the Library Vintage Regional Trophy in 2010 and 2012), Charles Heidsieck’s Blanc des Millénaires 1995 again came out on top. And this after it fought off other Champagne heavyweights, as well as contenders from Spain, Italy and Australia.
This wine has had a near-perfect track record for the past seven years. The news would surely gratify Daniel Thibault, its maker, and the house’s legendary cellarmaster, who died in 2002. He created Blanc des Millénaires with the idea of making the ultimate blanc des blancs. It was first made in 1983 and has only appeared in four vintages, but has proved to be one of the very finest, even if its rival blancs des blancs – Salon, Taittinger’s Comtes de Champagne and Ruinart’s Dom Ruinart – are more widely acclaimed (more to do with marketing and distribution than quality).
The wine itself is evolving beautifully, with creamy, coffee richness; opulent yet not short of freshness. Even if it was ready when launched in 2005 it is showing no signs of tiring. Made exclusively of grapes from grand cru villages of the Côte des Blancs, plus premier cru Vertus, this is as classic as it gets.
Essi Avellan MW
Written by Decanter