Charles Heidsieck came from a well known Champagne family but chose to set up his own house in 1851. He was among the first to seduce the Americans with Champagne, and was at the centre of the New York social scene. The US Civil War brought the good times to an abrupt end – Heidsieck was accused of spying and imprisoned. Then unpaid debt bankrupted him. Years later, his New York agent made amends by giving him tenure over one third of the land in a tiny settlement known as Denver in Colorado. Eventually selling for a vast profit, Heidsieck was able to re-establish his Champagne house. Made with 40% reserve wine averaging 10 years of age, this non-vintage is exceptionally rich and complex, and goes beautifully with a range of fine canapés.