This is the most expensive wine I’ve reviewed on this site so far, so it’s worth addressing an important question. Can a circa $100 wine really be good value? Well, it’s up to you to make your own decisions there, depending on your budget and tastes. For many people, spending $100 on a bottle of wine is a waste of money, and that’s fair enough. But the way I think about value on this site is to compare individual wines with what else is out there in the market. Can it hold its own against wines priced much higher? Today’s Champagne, the Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve NV (AKA Champagne Charlie) certainly can.
Before I get to the review, let me tell you what makes this one a bit special. It’s all in the numbers: a massive 40% of the blend for this Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve NV is made up of reserve wines, which are aged between five and 15 years. After that, it’s put down for a long rest: my bottle was lying in the Charles Heidsieck cellars from 2009 to 2017. The only non-vintage (or multi-vintage, if you like) Champagne that surpasesthat is Krug, which goes for around $300 a bottle.
The extra age of the wines in this blend makes for a different kind of non-vintage Champagne. If your standard NV, say Mumm or Charles Heidsieck’s sister house Piper Heidsieck, is vibrant and racy, this one is complex and serious. It’s like early summer versus mid-Autumn: both beautiful in different ways.
The Review: Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve
There’s a delicate nose of dried flowers, brioche, almond, and fig. It’s delicate but also quite rich on the palate. Actually, it’s very rich in Champagne terms. There is a subdued acidity early on but the finish is long and vibrant. It’s very much a mature-tasting champagne, rather than an aperitif. It’s a Champagne to drink over lunch or dinner.
NB This one is a little harder to track down than most wines reviewed on this site. Dan Murphy’s sells it online and in a few stores, but you’ll be able to find it in plenty of other retailers stocking it with a Google search.
Alcohol Percentage: 12%
- Dan Murphy's