Champagne Charlie, a historic cuvée produced by Charles Heidsieck to celebrate the bicentennial of Founder, Charles-Camille Heidsieck, will be released for the first time this year after a 37-year hiatus.
The new edition is the first release in 37 years, and only the sixth release in the history of Champagne Charlie, following 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1985.
Only 24 bottles of Champagne Charlie will be available from September in Hong Kong and Macau via its importer and distributor Kedington Wines. As part of the Bicentennial celebrations, Charles Heidsieck will also release a special edition of its Brut Réserve Collector Edition, reimagined by French artist Catherine Gran, and will be available for purchase from August 2022.
Speaking of the release, Managing Director, Stephen Leroux, explains: “We are reconnecting with a tradition. By confirming our decision to make the “Charles spirit” and Charlie’s passion the essence of the House, we are recreating our crown jewel. We will produce only a very limited quantity of bottles for the first issue of this new release, which is, in fact, a rebirth. It will be available only through a very select network of distributors.”
In the late 1970s, then cellarmaster Daniel Thibault worked alongside the Heidsieck family to create Champagne Charlie as a tribute to their ancestor. With a long experience shaping the Charles’ signature wine style, Thibault followed his instinct to tackle what would be one of the most resounding successes in his winemaking career – the creation of the five editions of Champagne Charlie – 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1985.
In crafting the new champagne Charlie, cellarmaster Cyril Brun interpreted the Founder’s spirit. “For this new edition of Charlie, I took my inspiration from previous editions, tasting each of the past releases to reconnect with the initial creation.”
“This renaissance Charlie is a multi-vintage wine. This intentional use of reserve wines is also, for me, a symbol of a greater freedom of creation in this quest for the absolute,” he added.
The new Champagne Charlie cuvée is comprised of nearly 80% reserve wines, with select components aged on lees for up to 25 years. A blend of 52% Chardonnay and 48% Pinot Noir, the assemblage also includes 20% wine from the 2016 vintage, cellared in 2017.
Born June 17, 1822, Charles-Camille Heidsieck was a gentleman-entrepreneur with a taste for adventure. In 1852 he became the first owner of a Champagne House to visit the US, making the journey four times over ten years.
He reinvented the champagne market in the mid-19th century by converting Americans to his cuvées, earning him legendary status across the Atlantic, and the nickname, “Champagne Charlie”.
He was also immortalized in a namesake and popular song: the extremely popular jazz song “Champagne Charlie”, written by George Leybourne and released in 1858, made him a legend, bolstered more recently by several movies and fictionalized biographies.