Why 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.