Find out who won the regional trophy for over £10. And the winner is...
Charles Heidsieck 1995 Blanc des Millénaires
Created in 1983 by the late and great Daniel Thibault, Blanc de Millénaires is Charles Heidsieck’s prestige cuvée.
It was Thibault’s intention to produce a slow-evolving blanc de blancs and as the library vintage of 1983 was nominated as the chair’s “favourite wine of the show” in 2009, he evidently succeeded.
There have only been three other vintages released; 1985, 1990 and the current 1995 vintage. It might sound paradoxical that a current commercial vintage has actually won the Library Vintage Champagne Trophy, but this cuvée is deliberately held back.
Even Krug Clos du Mesnil is on 1998 and Salon has just released 1999. As Régis Camus, who succeeded Thibault as chef de caves, points out, “Charles Heidsieck’s customers have to be born with patience.
The 1995 wine has not taken on a single wrinkle. It is shocking to discover that it is already 15 years old!”
Blanc de Millénaires is a blend of five great Chardonnay growths: Avize, Cramant, Mesnil-sur-Oger, Oger and Vertus. With a dosage of 13.6g/l the 1995 is not only a slow developer, but built to age gracefully.
Critics have often pondered why Charles Heidsieck ceased production of Champagne Charlie, its former prestige cuvées, which is now only available in limited releases of mature vintages, and the answer is Blanc de Millénaires.
In 1983 and 1985, Daniel Thibault produced both Champagne Charlie and Blanc de Millénaires and not withstanding the brilliance of Champagne Charlie 1985; it was the greater consistency and slower evolution of the Blanc de Millénaires that made him focus on this wine.
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Written by Tom Stevenson