Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve
Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV contains a blend of 40% reserve wines (with an average age of ten years) and spends a minimum of three years ageing on the lees: twice the length required for a non-vintage. To achieve the depth and complexity of the House style, Charles Heidsieck then age their non-vintage for a further three years after disgorgement, again much longer than the legal requirement of just fifteen months. Chef de Cave, Cyril Brut sees the reserve wines used in the blending in two categories. 5-10 years old are 'vin medicines' - 'doctor wines', added to the blend, they affect the acidity, whilst the older reserve wines, 10-20 years old are 'vins d'épices' - 'spice wines' added for complexity and intensity. It is this large proportion of mature reserve wines and the extra ageing process that makes Brut Réserve NV one of the world's best non-vintage champagnes - often compared in quality to the prestige cuvées of other producers.
Delicate, vivacious and long-lasting bubbles are the result of a long, slow maturing process in chalk cellars.
Thanks to 40% of reserve wines, the blend offers a complex, elegant, voluptuous nose with a touch of freshly baked brioche, rich toasted notes and sun-drenched fruits - mango, apricot and mirabelle plum - accented by dried fruits, pistachio and almond.
The texture is reminiscent of a crisp layer of nougatine on a velvety cream pastry, filled with plump red plums and ripe cherries. The selection of reserve wines gives the wine lushness. The finish unveils notes of praline and vanilla.
It's showing very well, opening up in the glass with notes of green apple, dried white flowers, pear, candied peel and walnuts. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, deep and layered. This is a bottling that continues to punch above its weight and which both merits and rewards a few years in the cellar before opening.