Charles Heidsieck releases Blanc des Millénaires 2004
Charles Heidsieck has released the fifth edition of its Blanc des Millénaires series, with the launch of the 2004 marking the retirement of the 1995 after almost 10 years on the market.
The Blanc des Millénaires – a 100% Chardonnay – was first launched in 1993 with the 1983 vintage, although the house’s first blanc des blancs was made from the 1949 vintage. Since then, just four Blanc des Millénaires editions have been released: the 1985, 1990, 1995 and now the 2004.
Made only in exceptional years for Chardonnay, the 2004 release is made from grapes grown across four grand crus in the Cote des Blancs: Oger for its unctuousness and structure, Mesnil-sur-Ogir for balance, Avize for its minerality, Cramant for its complexity; and one premier cru, Vertus, for its freshness and floral side – each contributing 20% to the blend.
Presenting the 2004 at a tasting in London last week, Stephen Leroux, executive director of Charles Heidsieck, said the 2004 would likely remain on the market for around the next three years, compared with the 1995 which has been available for the past decade, and revealed a production run of around 2,500 cases a year.
“There was a lot of pressure on this wine, which had big feet to fill following the 1995,” he said. “The 1995 was, frankly, even for all of us at Charles Heidsieck, still a miracle as to how this wine was so fresh for so long. It seemed not to be moving.”
It wasn’t until the 2004 vintage that Cyril Brun, Charles Heidsieck’s cellarmaster, who took on the role in 2015 following the sudden death of Thierry Roset, and Leroux, felt that the quality of the Chardonnay vintage was such that a Blanc des Millénaires could be produced.
The 2004 harvest was notable as being one of abundance, yielding a bumper crop of well-ripened grapes that had followed the drought-ridden 2003 harvest, helping to replenish reserves, with Chardonnay performing particularly well.
The 2004 Blanc des Millénaires carries a dosage of 9g/litres and was laid down in 2005, spending 11 years on its lees before it was disgorged in November 2016.
“The fabulously fresh 2004 already offers the beautiful colour, long finish and silky texture so characteristic of this cuvée, as legendary as the celebrated founder of the house,” said Brun of the house’s latest release.
The 2004 Blanc des Millénaires will be on pour exclusively at The Ritz throughout February 2018 and carries an RRP of £175.