Champagne Charles Heidsieck
Charles Heidsieck is one of the most admired Champagne houses thanks to the unrivalled and consistently high quality of its wines. The current range is one of the most awarded collections of wines in the world. The intricacies of the champagnes’ complex make up have been perfected over the years by one of the most celebrated winemaking teams in Champagne – between three winemakers they have been awarded ‘Sparkling Winemaker of the Year’ at the International Wine Challenge fifteen times. This winemaking legacy, paired with the house’s flamboyant history since its foundation in 1851 by the man who would become known as ‘Champagne Charlie’, makes it a unique offering from Champagne: a house with great, hand-crafted wines, heritage and proven quality.
Charles Heidsieck was the original ‘Champagne Charlie’ gaining the nick-name during his travels around America in the mid-19th Century, inspiring George Leybourne’s famous song. Unlike many other famous Champagne Houses of the period who were selling their wines to the insatiable Russian aristocracy, Charles headed over the Atlantic, and allegedly introduced Champagne to America.
Letters from Charles back to his family in Champagne tell of his popularity and reputation as something of a dandy, a man who was friends with everyone, and whose wines were some of the most popular of the time. He wrote “...there is around my personality a rumour, an excitement as they say, that we will greatly benefit from...”
Charles Heidsieck was the chosen Champagne of the European royalty in the late 1800s, being awarded a royal warrant by King Edward VII of Great Britain in 1897, and appointed Champagne supplier by the Queen Dowager of Holland and the Emperor of Austria. At the beginning of the 20th Century, Charles Heidsieck was supplying Champagne to the royal courts of Sweden, Norway, England, the Netherlands, Portugal, Prussia, Spain, Luxembourg and Austria.
The House today
In keeping with Charles Heidsieck’s original ethos, the house does not own any of their own vineyards. Charles chose to concentrate on producing and ageing wine, leaving the vineyards in the hands of those who know them best – the growers. To this day, the house owns chalk cellars below Reims dating from the 11th century. This labyrinth of underground alcoves and galleries offers ideal conditions for ageing and enhancing wines.
The Charles Heidsieck bottle shape echoes the shape of these cellars. The bottles are made with the proportions of a magnum in mind – a slim neck and wide base – the best shape for ageing Champagne.
The wines today are made by a team with decades of collective experience, headed by Cyril Brun, Chef de Cave since 2015.