For the first time ever, an extensive collection of rare vintage Champagnes from Charles Heidsieck will be released directly from their oenothèque under the “La Collection Crayères” program. The House’s chalk cellars in historic Reims hold the prestigious library collection, where they have been stored since being bottled, and 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of the purchase of the unique Gallo-Roman cellars.
At a time when most Champagne houses were investing in their own vineyards, Charles-Camille Heidsieck made the bold move of foregoing his own land and instead turned his focus on perfectly aging his wines. Purchased in 1867 by Heidsieck, the 47 chalk cellars, or crayères, date back to the 2nd century and provide the optimal atmosphere for long-term aging of the House’s prestigious Champagnes. Located close to 100 feet below ground, they hold several million bottles that age a minimum of four years, and, for the La Collection Crayères bottlings, up to 40 years. As of 2015, the cellars have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Stephen Leroux, Executive Director for the House of Charles Heidsieck, explains, “Opening our oenothèque to the public is a passionate and powerful act. We want to enable wine lovers to obtain these bottles and have unforgettable experiences; it echoes the House philosophy. What’s more, distributing such rare bottles in a responsible manner whilst ensuring a minimum are available for future generations, is an exercise in balance.”
This first-ever offering from the prestigious La Collection Crayères will include five incredible cuvées: 1985 Rose Millésime (SRP $399); 1983 Brut Millésime in magnum (SRP $799); 1985 Champagne Charlie (SRP $449); 1982 Champagne Charlie in magnum (SRP $1,200); and 1981 Cuvée Royale (SRP $799).
Wines from La Collection Crayères will also be offered at auction by Christie’s on December 9th, 2017 in New York. Highlights of the sale include the much celebrated “Champagne Charlie” special cuvées from the 1980s; the House’s highly awarded Blanc des Millénaires Blanc de Blancs, with vintages dating back to 1983; jeroboams of the 1989 Brut Millésime; vintage Rosé back from 1985; and a number of bottles of the historic Cuvée Royale from the 1981 vintage.
La Collection Crayères Champagnes will be available in extremely limited quantities at the beginning of December at select fine wine outlets through the House’s national importer, Folio Fine Wine Partners.