Charles Heidsieck "Brut Reserve" Champagne
*Top 100 Wines of 2012* It’s rare to find a nonvintage blend with such attractive bottle age; in most the fruitiness dominates. This has a toasty character, with an almond note and a ripe mouthfeel that balances its warm pear and yellow-fruit flavors. This demonstrates a full, rich style.
Firm and toasty, with hints of vanilla and shredded coconut accenting flavors of creamed apple, toasted hazelnut, lemon meringue pie and black cherry puree. Refined in texture and mouthwatering through to the smoky, mineral-tinged finish. Disgorged 2012. Drink now through 2023.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(roughly one-third each pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay; laid down in 2008 and disgorged in 2012; L122974 3685): Light gold. Pungent pear and yellow plum aromas, with smoky mineral and citrus zest nuances adding energy. Gently sweet citrus marmalade and pear nectar flavors are enlivened by juicy acidity, picking up a toasty, leesy quality with aeration. Juicy orange and pear flavors linger on the long, vibrant, toasty finish.
Wine & Spirits
The reserve wines in this blend show in its richness and deep bass notes. It’s a complex Champagne that holds its mature flavors with cleanness and clarity, making it as refreshing as spring water. Scents of green apples and toasty lees add to the firm juiciness. For roast scallops.
*One Star* Recommended with caveats relating to its excessive toasty, burnt wheat bread character that precedes the tight, citrusy nose and flavors that well up underneath, this wine gets a big boost from a near perfect mousse of creamy, mid-sized bubbles that carry it nicely across the palate. Its finish is long, appropriately austere in its delivery of minerally fruit and loaded with all but dominant old yeast qualities. It is not for stand-alone sipping but will make a willing mate to savory finger foods.
Based on 2007 vintage and the first new formulation, launched in 2012. 60% of 2007, a third of each variety. 60 crus. Far fewer crus than in the past - the principle difference from the old days. Reserve wines are half Chardonnay and half Pinot Noir, 8-10 years old. Kept in big containers. Minimum 36 months in crayères. 11 g/l dosage for all cuvées. Complex nose and very well balanced palate. Seems definitely ready. 17.5/20 points.
It is funny to call this the "new" Charles when it actually has more old wine in it! The first difference between this wine and the old label is that is made from just 60 vineyard sites in Champagne rather than the previous 120. It is still composed of a third each Chardonnay, Meunier and Pinot Noir and includes 40% reserve wines that average 10 years of age, up from the eight year average previously. This Charles has more of the depth and power that fans of the Charles have come to love, but also much more freshness and elegance--a coup for a wine that is actually older. This is a great bottle multi-vintage Champagne for the price and a testament to the blenders art. (Gary Westby, K&L Champagne buyer)