Christie’s to Auction Heidsieck ‘Champagne Charlie’ Vintages

  • Bottles will come direct from producer’s Reims chalk cellars
  • Sale to include bottles from first 1979 ‘Charlie’ vintage

Christie’s International Plc is planning to auction a range of historic bottles from the cellars of Charles Heidsieck in December, an unusual sale that will include wines from all five of the “Champagne Charlie” special cuvee vintages dating to 1979 and its Cuvee Royale from as far back as 1966.

The Champagne producer was founded in 1851, but an earlier generation of the family was already in the business before the French Revolution, and its 47 chalk cellars, carved out 30 meters (98 feet) under the city of Reims, were purchased 150 years ago and date back more than 2,000 years.

Heidsieck cellars, Reims (Christie’s)

Photo: Christie’s International Plc

The sale comes as collectors are increasingly focused on provenance, with ex-producer sales typically attracting premium prices because of the guarantee of origin they provide, as well as the conditions in which the bottles have typically been stored. That contrasts with wines on the secondary market, which have histories that may be harder to trace and may also have been shipped on multiple occasions or stored inappropriately.

Estimates for the “Champagne Charlie” lots, which span the vintages of 1979, ’81, ’82, ’83 and ’85, range from 400 pounds ($531) to 4,000 pounds depending on bottle size and amounts, while the 1982 will be available in magnums, according to an email from Christie’s on the auction.

Two bottles of the Cuvee Royale 1966 may fetch up to 1,000 pounds and two bottles of the Cuvee Royale 1975 may go for 800 pounds, Christie’s said.

The sales will be in London on Dec. 7 and in New York Dec. 8 and 9, Christie’s said.

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