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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tasting Piper-Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck Champagnes at Select Wines, March 31...

The Date and Time: Monday, March 31, 2014  10AM to noon
The Event: a tasting of Champagnes from Piper-Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck
The Venue: Select Wines offices, Queen Street
The Target Audience: some wine writers and sales staff.
The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are in the LCBO now or will be through the year.
The Quote/Background: Piper-Heidsieck winemaker Regis Camus made a quick stop in Toronto, and offered an impromptu tasting for four P-H Champagnes. Since P-H and Charles Heidsieck are owned by the same company, Select added four C H wines to the tasting – eight Champagnes in all, NVs, vintaged, rose and top-of-the-line vintaged. M. Camus spoke to the wines via a translator, telling us a little bit about each vintage and packaging details on bottle shapes. M. Camus ha been instrumental in reinventing Piper-Heidseick, with new techniques and changes in the reserve wines, a maturation change from the regulatory 15 months to a minimum of 24 months, and then to keep back the wines a minimum of three months after disgorging. He was named Sparkling Winemaker of the Year in 2013 (by the International Wine Cellars UK), for the eighth time since 2004 with seven consecutive times in a row. After he left, we tasted Charles Heidsieck Champagnes. Changes had been afoot there too as well: they now select from fewer crus (60, down from 120), the average years of aging for the reserves are at 10 instead of 8, and the extra years of aging in the bottle has moved from five to six. Charles Heidsieck is leading the way with bottle shape changes, becoming more of a pot shape, to distinguish it from other sparkling wines and to make it look more rustic and historical.
The Wines:
***** SUPERIOR – Five Stars (95+ in Quality):
-Piper-Heidsieck Rare Millesime 2002, +380315 Nov 2014 Vintages, $259.95 [chardonnay and pinot noir]
-Charles Heidsieck Millesime 2000 Brut, +52449, $99.95 [58% pinot noir, 42% chardonnay, 12 years aging before release]
-Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires 1995, $264.75 [15 years aging before release]
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91- 94 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Piper-Heidsieck Brut 2006, $79.95 [pinot noir and chardonnay]
-Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve NV, +36962, $71 [40% reserve wine]
-Charles Heidsieck Rose Reserve NV, $84.95 [20% reserve wine and 5% red wine]
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Piper-Heidsieck Cuvee Brut NV, +462432, $54.95 [pinots noir and meunier]
-Piper-Heidsieck Rose Sauvage Brut NV, $69.95 [pinots noir and meunier]
The Food: croissants, gourmet breads, fresh fruit.
The Downside: a translator had to be provided; this slowed down the proceedings.
The Upside: a chance to taste some expensive Champagnes
The Contact Person:;;
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 92.

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