Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve is an Epic NV Champagne. If I want to spoil myself, this is where I will start.
I love this wine.
I really love this wine!
When people ask me “What’s your favourite champagne?”, I can never give an answer with just ONE champagne. I always say it’s a bit like asking a mother to pick her favourite child… before I very quickly answering – Charles Heidsieck and Krug.
My champagne faves always depend on my mood, the occasion, the budget, what I tried last BUT Charlie (and Krug) always feature somewhere in my answer.
And that is because it’s a truly spectacular non-vintage wine that you could almost be forgiven for mistaking as a vintage or even cuvée de prestige champagne it really is that good.
Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve
Technically an NV champagne, I think it is more deserving of being considered a multi-vintage champagne (like Krug). And here is why it’s so spectacular:
- Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve has 40% reserve wines dating back as many as 15 years. Most NV champagnes go back 2/3 years and very few beyond 8-9 years so that makes it really unique.
- Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve spends at least 6 years ageing. The minimum is 15 months for NV champs but most NV champagnes are aged 3 years. Again, that is pretty special.
That probably sounds like a lot of words that don’t mean a lot but as soon as you try this champagne you will instantly taste what that all means.
I often talk about grapes and how they impact the taste of the wine… one of the other major influencing factors I notice is age. Age brings a richness to champagne that once you see, smell and taste it, it will be instantly recognisable. The characteristics I associate most with aged champagnes are the taste of honey and a distinct, deep golden colour. The age shines through in this champs with honey, brioche, and velvety ripe fruit laced with vanilla.
Charles Heidsieck Champagne and Idris Elba
Let’s start with some background… I served Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve in a blind tasting with six other NV champagnes to a group of champagne lovers. Who were all also my girlfriends, so they’re not fancy-pants wine snobs or experts.
After we sampled each wine blind, they all picked the Charles Heidsieck champagne in their top two wines BEFORE they knew what each wine was. When the tasting was over, and all the champagnes had been revealed and I asked them which wine they wanted me to pour more of first… the resounding response was “the Charlie”.
I love a champagne reference that everyone can relate to…. so after the tasting we debated (at length) how to describe this champagne in non-champagne terms (as I like to do).
For me, Charles Heidsieck Champagne and Idris Elba are a perfect match. Charles Heidsieck always makes me think of Idris Elba who I think is sexy, sauve, cheeky, stylish, smooth, and a little bit ‘bad’ (if you’ve seen Luther, you know it!). One friend (and her husband who joined the debate when he came to pick her up) fought hard for a George Clooney reference… but I am standing by Idris.
Don’t know who Idris Elba is… now you do (you’re welcome!)
Charles Heidsieck Champagne blend
OK… we better get back to talking about the actual Charles Heidsieck champagne. The blend is equal amounts of pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay with 11g/l dosage. In the tasting I talked about above, I served the Charles Heidsieck alongside Pol Roger Brut Reserve which is also an equal blend of the three grapes. I put them together deliberately to contrast the two and highlight the effects of:
- Reserve wine (25% in Pol versus 40% in Charlie, also dating back to vintages up to 15 years old)
- Ageing (six years on lees for Charlie versus three years for Pol)
- 11 g/l (Charles H) V 8 g/l (Pol)
When you try the Charles Heidsieck champagne (I say WHEN, not if) post a pic and tag @bubbleandflute #bubbleandflute
Main image credit – Charles Heidsieck
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