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Charles Heidsieck (Champagne)

Charles Heidsieck is a champagne House based in the Reims region of Champagne. The house, founded in 1851 by the French champagne maker Charles Camille Heidsieck, produces both vintage and non-vintage cuvée.[1] It is part of EPI group since 2011.

Contents

HistoryEdit

Charles-Camille Heidsieck is born in 1822 into a family where eminent Reims traditions reign side by side with Prussian rigour. In 1851, at age 29, he founds a Maison designed in his image and creates a wine to reflect his unique personality. The wine bears his first name. Charles’ reputation quickly spreads around the cosmopolitan world.

Then, Charles decides to take his champagnes around the world. He makes an initial foray to Belgium and England to promote his new brand and to set up representatives.

In 1852, he leaves for the United States because he sees an opportunity to go where nobody has been before. He is the very first champagne merchant to make the journey. A trip he will made 4 occasions between 1852 and 1861. The success is immediate. Seducing New York society, he mingles with the great, earning him a glowing reputation. A charismatic dandy, yet courageous and adventurer, popular with the powerful and the press, he becomes a social sensation earning him a new nickname : “Champagne Charlie”

The Civil War forces Charles to return to the US to try to recover some of the debts owed to him by his agents. After unsuccessful attempts in New York, Charles visits the South, where he is trapped by the growing conflict. In July 1862, Charles Heidsieck is arrested by General Butler while travelling to New Orleans and sent to the infamous Fort Jackson in Louisiana where dire living conditions almost break his body. Thanks to his constant moral courage his spirit remains intact. After countless pleas and the intercession of President Lincoln himself, Charles is released in November 1862.

After the disaster of the American Civil War, Charles returns to France sick and bankrupt.   His spirit, however, remains unbroken, and he starts to rebuild his House, while repaying his debts. He focuses his strategy on the art of blending in order to creat high-quality champagne wines. He gives the importance of selecting, blending and ageing. For him, the vineyards will remain in the hands of growers and their expertise

In 1867, Charles Camille purchased a number of old chalk quarries, called crayères, convinced that his wines deserved nothing but the best. Dating back from the Gallo-Roman era, they offer optimal conditions for wine maturation. There are now inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List along with others champagne vineyards, houses and cellars.

The personality of the founder and the quality of his wines soon earn him royal warrants from the leading royal and imperial families of the time.

For a long period Charles Heidsieck was owned by the Henriot group. In 1985, Charles Heidsieck became part of the Rémy Cointreau wine and spirits group, and was sold in 2011 to privately owned French luxury goods group EPI (Société européenne de participations industrielles) founded by Christopher Descours.[2]

CuvéesEdit

  • Brut Réserve :
  • Rosé Réserve
  • Blanc des Millénaires 1995 (Prestige Cuvée)
  • 2005 Vintage Brut
  • 2006 Vintage Rosé

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Stevenson, Tom, ed. (2005). The Sotheby's Wine Encyclopedia (4th Edition). Dorling Kindersley. p. 180. ISBN 0-7513-3740-4. 
  2. ^ French Luxury Firm Buys Charles Heidsieck and Piper Heidsieck Wine Spectator: June 6, 2011

External linksEdit