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'Champagne Charlie' returns after 37 years

Published:  30 June, 2022

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Heidsieck and the rebirth of the legendary Cuvée Champagne Charlie, members of the trade and press were invited to an epic voyage on the River Thames.

Onboard The Elizabethan, a 19th century paddle steamer, glasses of the iconic cuvée were served beneath the evening sun to the tune of live jazz music.

The new edition is the first release in 37 years and only the sixth release in the history of Champagne Charlie, following 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1985. 

In a speech, Charles Heidsieck Champagne MD, Stephen Leroux said: “Charles was born in 1822, and the company he founded was in 1852, so the temptation was to wait until 2051 to celebrate the centennial, but I would’ve either been retired or feeding the flowers by the roots.

“So I felt a little bit impatient, and I said, well hang on. He was born in 1822, and when you celebrate a composer, you celebrate his birthday; you don’t celebrate the year of Mozart’s requiem. So I said in 2022, we shall do something, and that’s why we are here tonight.”

American wine lovers were the first to taste the new cuvée with celebrations in New York City, a city where Charles-Camille himself sold thousands of bottles in the 19th Century, converting Americans to his cuvées, earning him legendary status across the Atlantic and the nickname, “Champagne Charlie”.

Following the celebratory voyage on the Thames on 28 June, Champagne Charlie is now available to purchase in the UK at &, priced at £500. As part of their ‘Champagne of the Month’ programme, The Ritz, London, will feature several Charles Heidsieck cuvées across the site during July and be the only place in the UK to exclusively serve Cuvée Champagne Charlie by the glass (£75).

Leroux added: “Champagne Charlie is going to be a very small offering. We’re talking a few hundred cases for the whole world of which the UK is getting a very solid 25%, France is only getting 5%, for instance. So it’s very UK, American and Asian focused. 

“People ask me, because of the limited quantity, ‘is it going to be a collector’s item?’ I’m not really fond of that phrase - it is a ‘drinking item’. It's ready to drink tonight. 

“At Charles, we happen to make wines that age pretty well, and in four or five years, we will know if we have a monster on our hands, in a good way.”

Champagne Charlie:

Cellared in 2017

Close to 80% matured réserve wines and 20% wines from 2016, 48% Pinot Noir and 52%