In May the FINE Champagne Magazine and Tastingbook selected the World’s Best Champagnes for 2015. This year rose’s triumph with the majestic Ruinart ‘Dom Ruinart Rosé’ 2002 claiming the title of the ‘Best Champagne for 2015’.
Champagne Club was invited to Piper-Heidsiek at their cellars in Reims to taste the recent range of Champagnes from Piper-Heidsieck with Chef de caves Régis Camus.
RJ ON PIPER-HEIDSIECK All three Heidsieck domains originate from the same company, Heidsieck & Co., which was established in 1785 by Florens-Louis Heidsieck. The Piper-Heidsieck branch was established in 1834 by Christian Heidsieck. The domain remained within the family right up until 1989, when it became part of Rémy-Cointreau. Daniel Thibault, who up until his recent premature death made the cuvées at Charles Heidsieck and was even responsible for Piper-Heidsieck, was always careful to maintain the separate identities of the two domains. Todays Thierry Roset is following in the same great spirit. Piper own 65 hectares and purchase grapes from seventy villages. The wines are centrifuged, though they never used to be subjected to malolactic fermentation, which led to razor-sharp wines without extract. Nowadays Piper makes a more mellow and more easily accessible non-vintage. All champagnes from the firm gain a great deal from cellaring, about which Piper unfortunately neglects to inform its consumers. The ’55 and the ’53 were both masterpieces, and old vintages of Florens-Louis are legendary, but during the 1970s, up until the middle of the 1990s, the house was the weakest of the Heidsieck troika. Today they are again making brilliant champagnes, something that the fabulous ’96 proved very clearly. Their extremely lavish cellar tours are organised in the best Hollywood style, something that should suit their best customers – the Americans – admirably. As I have mentioned before, it was a train ride around Piper’s cellars that confirmed my fascination for Champagne. Thibault left a great void when he passed away in the spring of 2002. It is a great challenge for Thierry Roset o continue on his new, successful path. 2002 Piper Rare is a fantastic champagne with its delightfully toffee-ish, roasted style. It is very reminiscent of the lovely 88 and can perhaps become as good with storage.
nv Piper-Heidsieck ‘Brut’ | Reims | Champagne | Frankrike | 50PN 50CH | RJ 75(84)
TASTING NOTE I’ve wondered before why they don’t use malolactic fermentation for such a thin wine. The acidity is exceedingly intrusive when extract is missing. Now I’ve got my answer: malolactic fermentation is encouraged and Piper has pulled this wine together considerably in recent years under Thibault as chef de cave. Certain mature bottles are deliciously toasted. Better than ever.
2006 Piper-Heidsieck ‘Millésime’ | Reims | Champagne | Frankrike | 60PN 40CH | RJ 82(87)
TASTING NOTE Oväntat blekt intryck vid blindprovningen i London 2014. Knappt någon rostning ännu. Medelfyllig och krämigt ren.
2004 Piper-Heidsieck ‘Millésime’ | Reims | Champagne | Frankrike | 55PN 15PM 30CH | RJ 85(90)
TASTING NOTE Lite mindre tuff än den brukar vara vid lanseringen, och knallpulverpuffran är lite mindre framträdande än vanligt. Ändå skön ton av rostat bröd och apelsinchokladsliknande frukt med mjuk söt efterklang.
2002 Piper-Heidsieck ‘Rare’ | Reims | Champagne | Frankrike | 60PN 40CH | RJ 94(96)
TASTING NOTE A fantastic wine in the Thibault spirit! Very reminiscent of Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Millenaires with its fat buttery, and at the same time roasted hazelnut grilling and sun-matured sweet citrus costume. Sweeter and more mellow than Piper usually is, with good hope anyway of a long life.
2008 Piper-Heidsieck ‘Essenstiel Cuvée Brut’ (base 2008) | Reims | Champagne | Frankrike | 60PN 40CH | RJ 75(84)
TASTING NOTE New special Champagne with longer time on it’s lees. Only11% reserve wines and the rest is from 2008 vintage. Lovely toasted Champagne in a typical house style. Good aging potential.
nv Piper-Heidsieck ‘Rosé Sauvage’ | Reims | Champagne | Frankrike | 45PN 40PM 15CH | RJ 70(75)
TASTING NOTE New label and name, but not only that. This wine is now faintly toasted and is better suited to the fine style of the house. A lovely, mellow vanilla base. Last shipment a bit less impressive.
nv Piper-Heidsieck ‘Cuvée Sublime Demi-Sec’ | Reims | Champagne | Frankrike | 55PN 30PM 15CH | RJ 66(70)
TASTING NOTE Just as the name indicates, this is a sublime champagne that belongs among the better ones on the sweet side. The roasting and house style are well in evidence despite the attempt of the sugar to camouflage the base wine.
Björnstierne was invited with dear friend Dr Hank Linden to the house of ‘le Phantome’ for a gentlemens lunch @ terroir Gröndal. ‘In all simplicity’ as he said over the phone. ‘Apéro at 12:30’ he said. We started in grand style:
Krug ‘Grande Cuvée I.D. 211021′ (03 base) │50PN 15PM 35PM │ RJ 92(94) │ TASTING NOTE ‘Krug’s nonvintage wine costs about $150. They themselves would rather call it a ‘multi-vintage’. Almost every time one I drink Krug Grande Cuvée, some new element is revealed. Because it’s been blended from ten different vintages and forty-seven different wines from twenty-five crus, variation is understandable. However, I have only missed spotting it on one occasion at a blind tasting, proving that its basic character is unique. The extremely tough acidity, together with the heavy, rich Krug aromas, are the foremost clues. Always check how straight the cork is in order to decipher when it was disgorged. When young, the acidity can be too hard. When middle aged and older, the Grand Cuvée has a fabulously complex nose and palate, dominated by nuts and honey. The aftertaste is always long and majestic, like a great symphony. The best bottles deserve even higher points than I’ve given here.’
2002 PIPER-HEIDSIECK ‘CUVÉE RARE’ | 60PN 40CH | RJ points 94(96) │ TASTING NOTE ‘A masterpiece of elegance in this powerful year. Early to be the rock-solid, but this can not be anything but a legendary Champagne. Dense and concentrated fruit, biting acids that scares off many but the notes of butterscotch and coffee aromas lurking beneath the surface. A fantastic wine in the Thibault spirit! His very last vintage also …. Very reminiscent of Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Millenaires with its fat buttery, and at the same time roasted hazelnut grilling and sun-matured sweet citrus costume.’
2004 LOUIS ROEDERER ‘CRISTAL’ │55PN 45CH │ RJ 96(97) │ TASTING NOTE ‘An unusually unpredictable vintage. Very shy in the current state, despite that the faint tones are of the more open kind. Evolves more and more and already feels classic. Shang-ri-La!’
The yearly result of FINE CHAMPAGNE MAGAZINE’s annual classification of ‘100 Best Champagnes’ has been published. In 2010 the title was given to Armand de Brignac Brut Gold NV, 2011 to Piper-Heidsieck Rare 2002, 2012 to Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2000, 2013 to Charles Heidsieck Vintage 2000.
In 2014, for the first time in this classification’s history FINE CHAMPAGNE MAGAZINE vote went to a rosé champagne, the magnificent Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé 2002. This year FINE CHAMPAGNE MAGAZINE also awarded three honorary awards for mature Library Vintages, exceeding 15 years of age. FINE CHAMPAGNE MAGAZINE’s TOP 3 Library Vintages were Dom Pérignon Oenothèque 1996, Laurent-Perrier Les Réserves Grand Siècle Magnum NV and Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires 1995. Why don’t You compare the results with Champagne Clubs list from The Juhlin tasting 2014. The major difference is that our tasting is based upon the 100 best cuvée préstige from the top 50 growers and the top 50 houses. And only champagne that are available on the market at the moment. Read about our top-ranking here. In our tasting there were no rosés or single vineyard champagnes. Only Cuvée préstige …
TOP 10 Champagnes for 2014
1 Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé 2002
2 Dom Pérignon 2004
3 Louis Roederer Cristal 2002
4 Charles Heidsieck Rosé Réserve NV
5 Piper-Heidsieck Rare 2002
6 Henriot Rosé Millésime 2005
7 Krug Grande Cuvée NV
8 Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill 2000
9 Krug Vintage Brut 2000
10 Pol Roger Vintage 2002
Library Vintages Honorary Awards 2014
1 Dom Pérignon Oenothèque 1996
2 Laurent-Perrier Les Réserves de Grand Siècle Magnum NV
3 Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires 1995