I had an 11-Champagne lunch recently. I was not being indulgent, but doing work at a press luncheon for Piper-Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck. I love the bubbly wine, but it was interesting to be able to have several at a time to really compare and contrast. To divine which ones are truly the favorites.
Back in the day of Louis and Marie Antoinette there was one Heidsieck, Florens-Louis. When he passed in 1828 two cousins, Charles Heidsieck and Henri Guillaume Piper, each decided to take over the internationally renowned brand and thus the two houses were born. In the 1980's the two were reunited in the Remy Cointreau stable of wine and spirits.
Charles is described as "generous and voluptuous" and Piper as "radiant and crisp." Piper is also the fashonista in the family, starting trends like the mini-champagne bottles for models and designer bottles by Van Clef and Arpel and the like.
This summer Piper's introducing La Piscine, French for swimming pool. So the story goes, at the original Nikki Beach in St. Tropez (there are outposts in South Beach, Cabo, Marrakesh, you know places where it's chaud.) they drink beaucoup Champagne. But it's hot down there, even in the wee hours. So how to keep the bubbles chill? Make Champagne ice cubes to keep you glass cold, and as they melt they will not dilute the wine.
The vino purists may be wincing at the decidedly non-flute style of the glass, but not to worry. Champagne flutes were brought into vogue by caterers, wanting to pre-pour champagne and keep it bubbly for a long time. Fact: they use white burgundy glasses to taste the Champagne at the Heidsieck caves in Reims. I was thrilled to learn this as it gives further justification to my quest and desire for the Marie Antoinette coupe-style glasses. (In case anyone wants to send a gift for Snack's 2nd birthday in August.)