Piper-Heidsieck Hors-Série 1982

Over forty years is a long time in the world of Champagne. Very few wines make it past their second decade, let alone their fourth, and there are only a handful of Champagne houses putting down stocks for the long haul, with Dom Perignon one of the very few to invest long-term in wines for future release. So when the opportunity to taste a new wine from the famed 1982 vintage lands, it is an instant yes.

Last week a handful of us huddled around a small table in Sydney to hear Piper-Heidsieck Chef de Cave Émilien Boutillat join us from France before his morning croissant to share the story of the Hors Série and Sauvage de Heidsieck, both from 1982. The first release of Hors Série was from the 1971 vintage, a wine that was drinking superbly at 50 years of age and still with some youthful vitality, a complete surprise packet in late 2021.


The Hors Série releases are part of a curious tradition at Piper-Heidsieck whereby occasional vintages were put down with no set purpose in mind. The 1982 Hors Série and Sauvage de Heidsieck make a fascinating pigeon pair, both made from 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay with the relatively low dosage for the time at 4 grams per liter.

The Hors Série from 1982 was only disgorged in early 2022, so enjoyed 39 years on its yeast lees. The Sauvage de Heidsieck only had 9 years on lees so has been sitting on cork for the remainder. While the 1971 Hors Série was exceptional, I think the 1982 vintage takes the cake – still a middle-aged thoroughbred with more bite and attack. There are only 96 bottles of Hors Série coming into the country and a snip at $1000 per bottle. The 1982 Sauvage de Heidsieck is even rarer, and can only be purchased in a twin pack with the 1982 Hors Série for $2,800.

Piper-Heidsieck Hors-Série 1982

Fantastic brushed gold colour to start before aromas come thick and fast – overripe peach, roasted mixed nuts and Manuka honey against an almost smoky and savoury backdrop. The standout feature is the sheer power, vibrancy and focus for a wine of this age. A strong palate follows, robust and creamy yet defined by punchy fruit and still searingly youthful acidity. More toasty, honey, gingerbread and aged nutty Comté before diving towards spice and cigar box. It’s quite a big wine showing the generosity of the vintage before a sustained, lengthy finish. The wine is at peak but there is no need to hurry. 98 Points – Drink 2023-2033

Piper-Heidsieck Sauvage de Heidsieck 1982

A very different expression here with more development and a creamier texture but still with impressive DNA on show. Aged aromas of baked apple, roasted almonds, mushroom and old spices although still against a backdrop of sweet fruit. The palate is then deceptively delicate and subtle suggesting it may be nearing the end of its drinking window but slowly layer after layer of complexity builds over a fine, long and sustained finish with a gentle acid bite. 95 Points – Drink 2023-2026



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