Piper Heidsieck is launching an extra brut champagne that’s exclusive to the UK on-trade – and comes with the chance for key supporters to travel to the region and create their own blend.
Based on the 2011 vintage, Essentiel is the latest creation of Régis Camus, one of the star maitres de chai in Champagne.
Made up of a blend of 50% Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims, 25% Meunier from the Marne and 25% Chardonnay, mostly from the Côte des Blancs, it’s a similar varietal mix to the usual Piper Brut, but with an extra 12-18 months on lees. In total the bottles spend over four and a half years in the cellar before release.
Imbibe found the wine soft and approachable, with a delicate saline kick on the finish. Despite the low dosage of just 5g/litre, there are no green edges or hard acidity. As it warms in the glass, it becomes more delicately red-fruited in character.
Piper is a brand that is recovering from having been used as a supermarket discount workhorse by its previous owners, and with the on-trade only Essentiel it is hoping to acquire house-pour status in white tablecloth restaurants and country house hotels.
The brand is shortly to bring in an incentive scheme for key accounts, where those with ‘sufficient volumes’ will get the chance to go to Champagne, taste reserve wines with the team, then choose which of these will make up the ‘liqueur d’expedition’ and what dosage they’d like. These bottles will then feature that account’s company logo and name of ‘winemaker’ on the label.