Charles Heidsieck reveals relaunch plan

Charles Heidsieck is relaunching and repositioning its brut réserve and brut rosé styles of non-vintage Champagne.

The new Charles Heidsieck packaging

One year on from EPI assuming ownership of the brand (bought from Remy Cointreau along with Piper Heidsieck), the new management team at C&P Heidsieck, headed up by CEO Cécile Bonnefond and managing director Robert Remnant, has overseen a complete re-think about how Charles Heidsieck is positioned in the market.

The relaunch, writes Giles Fallowfield, involves changing the blend, introducing a new “unique” bulbous bottle shape, bringing back some facets of the mis en cave approach and pushing the price up to between €40 and €50 a bottle in European markets.

C&P Heidsieck has also appointed Thierry Roset as the new Charles Heidsieck chef de cave, although Régis Camus continues to work for the company as director of vines and wines across both brands, so his influence will not be lost.

The new Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve, based on the 2007 harvest, will be a blend of 60 rather than 120 different crus with 40% reserve wine added that has an average age of 10, rather than eight years as previously, said MD Robert Remnant speaking from Miami.

“You’ll recognise the style as Charles Heidsieck with all the typical complexity and richness that entails, but it will be a more precise blend,” said Remnant. “Régis and Thierry have refined the components, whittling down the number of crus used to just the core essentials.

“The new bottle is modelled on the particular shape of one of the 16 crayères (cellar number 9) in Charles Heidsieck’s historic chalk cellars in rue de la Procession in Reims. It makes the perfect bottle shape,” said Remnant.

Both the rosé and brut réserve will also have new livery and returning towards Daniel Thibault’s original concept for Brut Réserve Mis en Cave, the back label of the new wine will state when it was put into the Charles Heidsieck cellars – in 2008 the year after the harvest of which the wine is mainly based – while also recording the year in which the wine was disgorged, in this case 2011.

“It won’t be as prominent or on the front label as previously on the mis en cave wines but we think there are many knowledgeable consumers that are interested in this information, while it’s done in such a way it won’t cause confusion to those who didn’t understand the mis en cave concept,” said Remnant. As for the disgorgement date, this may be refined further giving the quarter, even the actual date of disgorgement, rather than just the year.

Asked about the new chef de cave Thierry Roset, Remnant said: “There is nobody better qualified. He has been employed by the house for 23 years working alongside both Daniel Thibault and Régis Camus and he will continue to report to Régis, whose influence on production remains active.”

The re-blending and relaunching of the wine had been planned by former owner Remy Cointreau for last year, but in the light of the sale to EPI it was persuaded by the new owners to allow them to handle this in line with their repositioning of the brand.

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