Regis Camus has just received his sixth Sparkling Winemaker of the Year trophy. Remarkable? Indeed. But also something of a habit.
In London on 6th September, Regis Camus was named Sparkling Winemaker of the Year at the 2011 International Wine Challenge. Like last year, the year before that, and the years before that. In fact, this is the sixth time that the winemaker of Charles Heidsieck and Piper Heidsieck champagnes has received this award, and the fifth consecutive year. A record equalled only by his predecessor Daniel Thibault, under whom he worked for eight years before succeeding to the post himself in 2002.
Daniel Thibault invented the Charles Heidsieck style, and Regis Camus has defined that of Piper-Heidsieck, without ever deviating from his mentor's legacy. This year again, the quality of the wines resulting from his flawless accuracy and excellence was widely applauded. Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve was voted best French wine by 'Bettane et Desseauve'. At the International Wine Challenge, Charles Heidsieck Millesime 2000 was named Best Sparkling Wine, a distinction awarded to Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires 1995 at the Decanter World Wine Awards and to Piper-Heidsieck Rare 1998 at the Japan Wine Challenge.
When a great winemaker is trained by another great winemaker, when their understanding runs so deep that the absence of one fails to weaken the other, when this constancy finds resonance in the wine, year after year, something very special happens - something that our restless, fickle times forget to value, but something that is essential for a great champagne house and a great champagne: continuity.