The Friday Bubble – Review of Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires Blanc de Blancs 1996


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Today on The Friday Bubble with Nick Baker; The latest and second release of the year, Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires Blanc de Blancs 1996.

Charles Heidsieck’s prestige cuvée is a blend of pure Chardonnay from just five different Crus: Avize, Cramant, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Oger and Vertus. An absolute masterpiece from the Côte des Blancs, this cuvée spends more than fifteen years maturing in the heart of Charles Heidsieck‘s two-thousand-year-old chalk cellars. The 1996 vintage marks the ninth release of this remarkable cuvée. With 2014 also released in 2024, it is the first time that the Maison unveils two Blanc des Millénaires in a single year.

The 1996 season was full of contrasts with an unpredictable summer, but remains famous as a high-sugar, high-acid champagne vintage. In the months before picking, the spells of hot weather and the influence of north-easterly winds contributed to the initial maturity of the grapes.

Initially lauded as the best since 1990 (maybe better!), it is undergoing a slight re-appraisal at the moment, as with some of the white Burgundies. High acidity and a tendency to oxidise appear peculiar bed-fellows, but the phenomenon has been noted with one or two champagnes.

19+/20 Nick Baker TFB
With such long lees time the fruit profile has transitioned to dried fruits like mandarin, grapefruit, lemon and then behind you see more savoury charm like saffron, butter, along with hints of smoke and black tea. Five minutes later you see lots of aromatics like walking through a scented rose garden and hints of Turkish delight. The palate as expected is fresh, with great length and soft textured from the long lees time. A fascinating glimpse into Daniel Thibault’s experimental vintage and this is well worth the wait. Perfect now and enjoy for 5+ years.