This year, Piper-Heidsieck and Chief Winemaker Émilien Boutillat released their Hors-Série 1971. Piper-Heidsieck has forged their legacy in the champagne world for the past 235 years, Émilien Boutillat even won the Sparkling Winemaker of the Year award this year. This week we were lucky enough to get a taste and it was exceptional.
This limited edition vintage blend is special for many reasons. First, the definition of Hors-Série is: stands apart, resembles no other, not mass-produced, and exceptional. In my personal opinion, it is truly unlike any champagne on the market. Each individual bottle was produced differently, evolved differently during the aging process which gives them each their own unique flavor and aromas. Some of the distinct aromas include; chocolate, cumin, and curry.
Émilien’s predecessors harvested the grapes in September of 1971. The blending process took place six months after the harvest in March of 1972. The bottling occurred from July 26 through July 30 in 1972. Finally, fast forward 50 years in the future, Émilien Boutillat finished up the Hors-Série with the disgorgement process after the second fermentation occurred. Émilien wanted to add his own twist to the vintage by producing a specific dosage. 10 grams were produced from a 2019 Chardonnay. In my opinion, the champagne tasted like a delightful cross between a wine and a champagne. The Hors-Série was paired with bread and topped with a few shreds of french cheese with added cumin spice on top.
It is not just the contents inside the bottle that make this Hors-Série spectacular. The bottle comes in a wood oak case produced by artisans located in Rennes, France. The wood is sourced locally and sustainably from French forests. The wood also underwent a 50 year aging process, the same amount as the champagne, before it was hand sculpted into a beautiful wine box. Each box is different, the individual grain and hue found on the oak allows the consumer to appreciate the hard work that went into producing the case and champagne. At the bottom of the case, you can notice an original print that was created to represent the seventies, the same decade the Hors-Série started its 50 year journey. Piper-Heidsieck and the team even decided to create a 70’s themed playlist to listen to while enjoying the blend, the playlist is included at the end.
The Muselet (the top piece of the bottle) can be seen as a collectors item as well as the wood casing. The design of the Muselet goes back to the 70’s theme seen on the oak case. Piper-Heidsieck draws connections to the inspiration for the Muselet from the House’s free-spirited, emblematic vision, and creativity of Émilien Boutillat.
Hors-Série 1971 is a limited edition champagne, with only 2021 bottles produced, all having their own distinct flavor and aroma. Each bottle on the market has been numbered. This numbering is special to the collection and allows the consumer to personally relate and see the variation between each individual bottle, and how much effort went into producing that one single bottle.
Although the Hors-Série is the crown jewel of Piper-Heidsieck and Chief Winemaker Émilien Boutillat, you can find many variations of Champagne produced by the House. Champagnes that fall under the Extra-Brut and Demi-Sec categories can be found in grocery stores across Luxembourg, France, the United States, and many other countries around the world.
Click here to enjoy the Hors-Série 1971 playlist while you sip on this luxury:
- David Bowie: Oh You Pretty Thing
- Can: Tago Mago
- Paul McCartney: RAM
- Leonard Cohen: Songs Of Love And Hate
- Nick Drake: Bryter Layter
- Earth Wind & Fire Love Is Life
- Aretha Franklin: Aretha’s Greatest Hits
- Serge Gainsbourg: Histoire de Melody Nelson
- Marvin Gaye: What’s Going On?
- Al Green: Gets Next To You
- George Harrison: My Sweet Lord
- Jackson Five: Maybe Tomorrow
- Michael Jackson: Got To Be Here
- Tom Jones: Resurrection
- Janis Joplin: Pearl
- John Lennon: Imagine
- Curtis Mayfield: Roots
- Pink Floyd: Meddle
- Sixto Rodriguez: Coming From Reality
- Jackie De Shannon: What The World Needs Now
- Nina Simone: My Way
- Cat Stevens: Wild World
- Ringo Starr: It Don’t Come Easy
- T-Rex: Electric Warrior
- The Who: Who’s Next