Piper-Heidsieck Hors-Serie 1971 (Limited Release)
Champagne house Piper-Heidsieck has released the first in a new series of special-issue cuvees.
Hors-Série 1971 is a 50-year-old blend of Champagne that was disgorged in February this year. The dosage is 10g from a 2019 Chardonnay, with no malolactic fermentation, as was the tradition in 1971.
Hors-Série 1971 is a “reinterpretation” of a vintage blend dating from 50 years ago, according to Piper-Heidsieck, and was created by chief winemaker Émilien Boutillat.
The design influence: “Obviously, each bottle over the decades has followed its own route and presents unique characteristics. This is what the house wanted to express in the choice of the box, developed by a Breton craftsman, and hollowed out of pieces of raw oak, which makes them all different, nature having drawn specific characteristics on each. The frieze that adorns the pedestal with its pretty monogram evokes the world of pop, as does the typography chosen on the label which refers to the tracks of old vinyl records. It is true that 1971 had been rich in musical releases. 1968 had unleashed the wildest hopes and artists believed in universal peace. John Lennon sang “Imagine”.
Weather: The 1971 vintage was significantly influenced by the previous year, in 1970 the yields were very large and as often happens in the following year of 1971 the yields were much smaller. The winter from 1970 to 1971 was long and cold with spring frosts during April causing some damage to the vines. The cool weather pushed back flowering til later June. July and through August the weather warmed often with very hot days causing some localised hailstorms. Sept was dry and warm and ripening happened normally with harvest beginning on 18th September. The smaller number of bunches on the vine resulted in great concentration of flavour in the grapes.
Tasting Note: Richly coloured that deep marmalade orange, a nice “hiss” on the opening and the bubbles just gently prickle on the side of the glass. The fruit has energy, there is fresh citrus, twist of ginger, white pepper, pink grapefruit and rich dried orange, the palate is all these fruits and yet more unctuous some tropical notes like pineapple, lychee, dark chocolate, bitter tangerine, roasted cashews and hints of dried lime. This is really unctuous and rich and the dosage sits seamlessly, there is plenty of acidity and a saline finish that lifts up the freshness on the end of the palate. Majestic! When you re- taste it you can see the precision, it is amazing a 50 year old champagne in bottle is so fresh and thoroughly enjoyable. As you taste the champagne it gives this wonderful sensation, its races across the palate and has staying power, incredible length. I don’t believe there is a better 50 year champagne currently on the market!
Vineyards: 12 crus| Chardonnay – Côte des Blancs | Pinot-Noir – Mostly Verzy in the Montagne de Reims
Grape Varieties: 50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir
Lees ageing: 50 years
Disgorged: Feb 2021
Bottling: 26 through 30 July 1972
Dosage: 10 g/l
Total acidity: 9 g/l
Bars pressure: 3.5-4.0
Production: 2021 bottles