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Trade pays tribute to Thierry Roset

The trade has paid tribute to the skill and modesty of Charles Heidsieck winemaker Thierry Roset, who died earlier this month aged just 55.

Thierry Roset died earlier this month aged 55

During the launch of Heidsieck’s 2005 vintage in London yesterday evening, executive director at the Champagne house, Stephen Leroux, raised a glass to Roset, and described him as “the man behind the resurrection of Charles Heidsieck for the last few years”.

Although Roset had worked at the house since 1988, he took over the reins as chef de caves at Charles Heidsieck in 2012 when Regis Camus, a man he had worked with since 2004, became director of viticulture and wine for Piper and Charles Heidsieck, which are both owned by EPI.

Leroux also said that Roset was “a wonderful father, a wonderful friend, a wonderful colleague and a wonderful winemaker”, while noting that it was apt that attendees of the event yesterday should be served Heidsieck’s Champagne Charlie 1985, which was Roset’s first encounter with the brand.

Roset, who has three children, the youngest in his early 20s, died suddenly in early October from a cerebral haemorrhage.

In an email sent to db early this morning, Louis Roederer’s head winemaker and vice president Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon described Roset as a good friend with whom he shared his greatest winemaking secrets.

“Thierry was an honest friend, a fantastic winemaker and he had the Charles’s style in his blood. His descriptions of his wines were so intelligent and always very clever,” he wrote, adding, “We will miss him and his humble but warm presence.”

David Gleave MW, head of Liberty Wines, which is the UK importer for Charles Heidsieck, also admired Roset’s winemaking talents, and said he had an “outstanding palate” which was coupled to a “touching humility”.

Meanwhile, wine writer, Champagne expert and db contributor Michael Edwards sent us the following words:

“The tragic death of Thierry Roset at just 55 is a severe blow to Charles Heidsieck, where he became chef de caves just two years ago. It may look as if he waited a long time for the top job. In truth, his gentleness and natural modesty masked a long- acknowledged prodigious talent, anchored in a profound feeling for what makes great Champagne sing – beyond the numbers.

“In this he was a true ‘son’ of the great Daniel Thibault, whom he joined as an assistant at Charles Heidsieck in 1985 and quickly became closely involved in making Heidsieck’s Blanc des Millénaires a benchmark of its kind: the legendary status of the Millénaires 1995 in particular owed a lot to Thierry’s sure hand behind the scenes.

“It’s sometimes forgotten that Thierry was as great a wine communicator as his two mentors, Thibault and until now Régis Camus, as a more sotto yet compelling master of assemblage and vins clairs.”

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