Champagne Piper-Heidiseck's new Cuvée Essentiel Extra Brut, and a review of their Vintage 2008


Last night I drank (with help, of course) two Champagnes. One was the impressive new Cuvée Essentiel, and the other the 2008 vintage, from Piper-Heidsieck. It’s a house I associate with forward, generously toasty wines, so it’s nice to see the Essentiel, which is a bit more serious and well defined.

Champagne Piper-Heidiseck Essentiel Cuvée Réserve Extra Brut NV France
12% alcohol. The idea behind this cuvée is that it’s the same base wine as the regular non-vintage that’s aged longer and has lower dosage. This was cellared in 2012 and was disgorged in June 2016, and has 5 g/l dosage. It’s really impressive: there’s fresh citrus and green apple fruit, with a faint twist of cherry and a bit of fruit sweetness. But this is kept in check by good acidity, and the lower dosage doesn’t cover over all the edges, leaving a bit of crispness and structure on the finish. There’s some of that Piper toasty generosity, with a twist of fresh-baked bread, but there’s some saline lemony briskness on the finish. Really assured and quite delicious. 92/100

Champagne Piper-Heidsieck Vintage 20018 France
12% alcohol. This is refined and very toasty with complex spicy, almost saline citrus fruits, together with a bit of peachy richness. This has an intriguing texture, because it’s rich, bready and toasty, but at the same time fresh and spicy with good definition. It’s a real crowd-pleaser, with delicious but restrained richness, and a complex, spicy finish. 91/100

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