Charles Heidsieck Releases 7th Vintage of Landmark Champagne

Champagne Charles Heidsieck's Blanc de Millénaires 2007. 

Photo provided

Blanc de Millénaires from Charles Heidsieck

Champagne Charles Heidsieck's Blanc de Millénaires 2007. 

Photo provided

Blanc de Millénaires is the prestige cuvée of Champagne Charles Heidsieck and a landmark when it comes to Blanc de Blancs Champagnes or wines made solely from Chardonnay. This results in Champagnes known for their sleekness, chalky depth and steely style. This is only the seventh vintage of this wine to be released, following the 1983, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2004 and 2006 vintages.

To mark the launch, cellar master Cyril Brun led a small vertical tasting – to illustrate both the ageability and evolution of this Champagne and its stylistic consistency throughout very varying vintages.

Pioneering style

“We were one of the first ever wineries to make Blanc de Blancs,” said Brun speaking in London. “We have found labels – not bottles – of Blanc de Blancs from 1906. We made non-vintage Blanc de Blancs in the 1970s… then we created Blanc de Millénaires.” Brun went on to speak of a “recipe” for the wine, noting that the cuvée was always based on the fruit from five villages in the Côte des Blancs. The house characterises what they bring to the wine as follows: “Oger for its structure and generosity, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger for its minerality, Avize for its smoothness, Cramant for its complexity and Vertus for its vibrancy and floral notes.”

An essence and a footprint

Brun said: “If I tried to define what Blanc de Millénaires is, I would say that it is the essence of the Côte des Blancs. Tension, freshness but at the same time a certain level of structure, of fruitiness, evolving in bottle – that is the signature of Blanc de Millénaires.” He pointed out that while the 2008 vintage was (deservedly) much lauded in Champagne, he was “convinced that Chardonnay was better from 2007 than from 2008.”

Returning to the style of the wine and its longevity, Brun noted: “The footprint of the vintage is going to gently vanish, and the footprint of the terroir is coming back – but you have to wait quite some time.” The vintages tasted were markedly different – 2006 standing out for its savoury evolution – the difference between 2006 and 2007 seemed much greater than just a year. The 1995 and 2004 vintages were pictures of youthfulness – and while the 2006 is ready now, the 2007 will be a marvel for years to come.