Singapore Airlines replaces Piper-Heidsieck 2014 with Charles Heidsieck

After a brief reintroduction of Piper-Heidsieck 2014, it's back to Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve for SIA's Business Class passengers.

Back in January 2024, Singapore Airlines Business Class passengers got an upgrade in the champagne department with the return of Piper-Heidsieck Brut Vintage 2014.

This pour, which was previously served in November 2021 (albeit the 2012 vintage), is a rare example of a vintage champagne served in a Business Class cabin. Vintage doesn’t automatically mean better, of course, but in my book this was a definite improvement. 

Unfortunately, this has proven to be short-lived. Catering menus have been updated across the network, and towards the end of February it’s back to Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve.

SIA serving Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve in Business Class

Charles Heidsieck has been a long-time choice of SIA

From 25 February 2024, SIA Business Class passengers will be served Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve on all routes.

 

Champagne, located in the north of France, with its cool climate and famed chalky soil, makes the most famous sparkling wines in the world. Charles Heidsieck, established in 1851 by entrepreneur Charles-Camille Heidsieck, is today one of the region’s most admired Houses.

Production of this multi-vintage wine is overseen by “chef de cave” Cyril Brun, and is a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Remarkably, over 40% of the blend is made up of older reserve wines which gives Charles Heidsieck its distinctive complexity, richness and maturity.

These attributes have ensured that their Brut Reserve has been the standout performer at many of the top international wine competitions in recent years

-Singapore Airlines

Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve is a mix of 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Meunier, with a dosage of approximately 9g/litre. This makes it slightly sweeter than the Piper Heidsieck 2014 it replaces (7g/litre).

Here’s a factsheet with tasting notes for your reference, courtesy of Folio Wines.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

The sudden switch may come as a surprise, as I think many were expecting to see Piper-Heidsieck 2014 have a longer tour of duty. My guess is that they ran into a supply issue, which led to the reactivation of Charles Heidsieck on what will hopefully be a temporary basis. 

Charles Heidsieck is, of course, no stranger to the SIA Business Class cabin. This has been served at numerous points in time, most recently in 2022. While perhaps not as impressive as the Piper, I’d say this is the best non-vintage champagne that the airline offers in this cabin (certainly head and shoulders above Laurent-Perrier!).

In fact, back in 1998 this was even served in Economy Class!

A Celebration of Champagne continues in First Class

Over in First Class, SIA’s “A Celebration of Champagne” programme continues with NV Egly-Ouriet ‘VP’ Grand Cru Extra Brut now the special guest champagne. 

This is served alongside stalwarts Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, and Krug Grand Cuvee.

🍾 SIA Suites/First Champagnes
(1 Feb to 31 Mar 24)
ChampagneVivino Rating
2012 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne4.5/5★
Krug Grande Cuvee NV4.6/5★
NV Egly-Ouriet ‘VP’ Grand Cru Extra Brut4.4/5★

The ability to choose from three excellent champagnes is amazing, though sadly from 1 April 2024 the selection is cut to “just” two as A Celebration of Champagne draws to a close.

How does Singapore Airlines choose wines?

No more Dom in First Class, though!

Singapore Airlines wines are selected by a panel of three wine experts:

  • Michael Hill-Smith, Australia’s first Master of Wine
  • Jeannie Cho Lee, the first Asian Master of Wine
  • Oz Clarke, one of the world’s most celebrated and colourful wine authorities

This panel is responsible for recommending the wines and champagnes served on board SIA flights, which numbers 2.1 million bottles a year across all four cabins. 

Formal tastings are conducted regularly in Singapore, where over 1,000 bottles of red and white wines, champagnes and fortified wines are sampled in blind tastings.  Wines are judged on appearance, bouquet, and palate. Just like SIA’s food, wine tastings are also conducted in a pressurised room to simulate how the cabin environment will affect taste buds.

Some additional information, per an SIA-provided backgrounder:

SIA Wine Sourcing Process
 

In 2019, SIA introduced an extensive selection of boutique wine labels in a move to diversify its wine programme and provide greater variety for customers. Today, customers in Suites, First Class, and Business Class can enjoy the widest selection of Burgundy wines in the sky with over 52 labels rotated over a period of 18 months.

The introduction of boutique wine labels has been made possible due to SIA’s approach to sourcing wines, where SIA’s Wine Consultants personally visit boutique vineyards and wineries across different wine regions to taste and source for quality small-batch wines.

This approach enhances the traditional process of procuring wines through requests for  tenders, as smaller domaines and micro-negociants may previously have been unable to participate due to minimum quantity requirements for the tender process.

This direct market wine sourcing approach increases the variety of labels on rotation, including high-quality small-batch wines previously unavailable in-flight.

Depending on the routes, the wine selection offered in SIA’s Suites and First Class includes two brands of champagnes – Krug Grande Cuvée and Taittinger Comtes de Champagne – as well as wines from the Americas, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, and New Zealand

SIA’s red Burgundy is sourced from 33 vineyards classified as Grand Cru (Great Growth) and 535 vineyards classified as Premier Cru (First Growth). With more than 50 labels available, SIA is renowned for its largest Burgundy cellar in the sky.

For its Bordeaux, SIA serves the Second Growth in Suites and First Class as a permanent feature. There are only 14 Chateaux in Bordeaux classified as Second Growth under the Grand Cru classification of 1855.

In Business Class, the selection includes internationally award-winning pourings from Australia, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, and the United States of America. Port wine and premium champagnes are also served. Premier Cru white Burgundy and Cru Bourgeois red Bordeaux are regularly listed.

Customers in Premium Economy Class and Economy Class can enjoy a choice of quality red, dry, and aromatic white wines from various wine producing regions. Customers in Premium Economy Class can also enjoy champagne on board.

Conclusion

Piper-Heidsieck 2014’s stint in the Business Class cabin has proven to be brief, as Singapore Airlines swaps it out for the venerable Charles Heidsieck come the end of the month.

While Charles Heidsieck is no slouch, I do hope there’ll be a return to Piper in the near future, since it’s one of the better Business Class champagnes I’ve had (taste being a highly personal thing- oenophiles, put away your corkscrews).

Charles or Piper- what’s your pick of the Heidsiecks?

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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lifeonthego

I personally prefer Charles Heidsieck over Piper Heidsieck when it comes to their entry level champagnes.

Mr Roboto

I always add OJ to my Heidsieck. Should I be electrocuted?

Zaos

Oddly this swap occured after SQ won best biz sparkling with this wine in the Business Traveller, current issue.

What a coincidence.

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