Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires Blanc de Blancs

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100% chardonnay; 20% each of Cramant, Avize, Oger, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Vertus, as always; aged 11 years on lees; fermented in stainless steel tanks, cru by cru; full malolactic fermentation; 9g/L dosage, the first Charles below 10g/L; 65–70,000 bottles

Just the fifth Blanc de Millénaires since 1983, parading a gloriously bright yet full straw-yellow hue, this is another enthralling release brimming with all of the ravishing exuberance that is Charles Heidsieck. Glorious sweet pipe smoke, molten wax, nougat, golden fruit cake, glacé peach, quince and truffles well up in a magical torrent, while the honed definition and coiled tension of the great 2004 season shines like a beacon, illuminating with great focus the pristine cut of lemon and apple fruit. In texture it is an ethereal sensation, at once silky, creamy, luscious and extravagantly rich, yet at every moment defined by the focus of 2004 acidity, washing with a magnificent sea of fine chalk mineral texture that inscribes the signature of the greatest crus of the Côte des Blancs. With epic determination, drive and brilliance, this is a worthy follow-on to the sublime 1995, and will, like it, blossom and grow triumphantly in the decades to come. 98 points - Tyson Stelzer

This 2004 constitutes only the fifth edition of this special bottling that has earned an outstanding reputation, coming after 1983, 1985, 1990 and the superlative 1995. The Chardonnay for this blanc de blancs comes from the five famous terroirs of the Côte des Blancs: Avize, Cramant, Oger, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Vertus. It has powerful aromatic complexity with minty, floral and mineral elements, while the dense, generous yet silky texture is supported by finely-judged acidity. This is a character-driven Champagne that should pair well with a poultry dish based on a creamy sauce. 95 points - Decanter