Pull Out All the Stops with this Champagne for New Year’s Eve

Pull Out All the Stops with this Champagne for New Year’s Eve

Champagne – why it’s the star at the top of the tree

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ch-etui-brut-bd-2-e1446133034875Why is Champagne (the real thing from the region one hour east of Paris) the gold standard? It’s not just meticulous selection, extended aging and a reputation to defend. It’s all about that chalky soil, which produces thin, astringent, fairly nasty still wines, but the finest sparkling wines the world knows. Prices are high, but then New Year’s Eve is a time to pull out all the stops, and corks, and celebrate. Today’s wine is my current favorite in the non-vintage category. It’s the Brut Reserve from Charles Heidsieck: a small, meticulous estate with Olympian standards. Worthy of a special search, this is a hugely satisfying non-vintage Champagne. Without naming names, this bottle outshone many other famous N.V. Champagnes by a country mile!

Charles Heidsieck Champagne, Brut Réserve Non-Vintage $65 srp

Rather burnished, golden color, indicative of the usage of “40% reserve wines” in the final blend. An alluring nose of biscuits, vanilla and toffee surrounding the honeyed stone fruit and cherry elements. Really complex and inviting. A broad mouthfeel that’s soft, creamy and seamless on entry. There’s juicy apple, pear and mouthwatering citrus flavors along with a nutty, chalky finish that calmly refreshes. This is really an overachiever, resembling a vintage Champagne more than a house non-vintage style. (33% each of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.) Aged three years on it’s yeasty sediment. Drink now-2019.

93/100 points

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Arturo Ciompi
Trained as a classical clarinetist and conductor, Arturo plied his trade for many years in New York, performing with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York City Opera, the American Symphony and countless chamber music groups. While living in Durham, Arturo became the wine manager at two iconic gourmet stores: Fowler’s in Durham and Southern Season in Chapel Hill. He had a wine spot on NPR in the ’90s and has been a continuously published wine journalist since 1997. He has won national awards for his work and is currently writing for Durham Magazine and its weekly blog, “Wine Wednesdays”. In addition, he loves teaching the clarinet. Read more on his website.