Under EPI ownership, Charles Heidsieck is planning to resurrect its prestige cuvée called Champagne Charlie, which was axed in 1985 when Rémy Martin bought the brand.
Champagne Charlie was launched with the 1979 vintage, and was named after the founder of the house, Charles-Camille Heidsieck, known as Champagne Charlie.
According Stephen Leroux, “Champagne Charlie will come back”… “We have made the wine, but it won’t hit the market for 5-6 years.”
Explaining why the prestige cuvée was discontinued, he said that Rémy stopped producing Champagne Charlie in 1985 after acquiring the house because the group included Krug, which was prioritized as the top-end Champagne in the stable.
“There was Krug, Charles Heidsieck and Piper [Heidsieck], and Krug was the prestige Champagne, Piper the commercial one, and Charles was supposed to be the niche and good-value Champagne, but there was no focus on it,” he recalled.
While Krug was sold to LVMH in 1999, Charles and Piper were acquired by EPI in 2011, under the new owner both houses have been undergoing a repositioning as the company, which is 100% owned by the Descours family, is bringing the houses back to their former glory.
But for those unable to wait for the rebirth of Champagne Charlie, Leroux said that the house is releasing historic vintages of the vintage-dated prestige cuvée from its cellar.
“In the meantime we are selling some of the old Champagne Charlie from five vintages, ’79, ’81, ’82, ’83 and ’85, and this will be under an oenoteque concept in very small quantities.”
The price of these late releases, some of which have already been disgorged, will range from £300 to £600 per bottle, according to Leroux, who also said that all late-releases direct from the Charles Heidsieck cellars would, from this year, receive a special label.
“We are coming up with new labelling for our older vintages, so whether it is Champagne Charlie, Blanc de Millénaires, or Royal Cuvée, there will be new packaging for these wines, which will be released in tiny quantities,” he said. (Charles Heidsieck released a Royal Wedding Cuvée to celebrate the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in July 1981).