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Tweaking a beloved Champagne’s style is a risky business. More than perhaps any other wine, after all, Champagne–particularly each house’s signature Brut NV bottling–is built on the idea of a consistent expression year after year.

 

So when I was invited to taste the new bottling of one of my perennial favorites, the Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve, and to meet the new Chef de Cave, Thierry Roset, I have to admit that I was a bit nervous.

 

Turns out I had nothing to worry about. Mr. Roset, though he has added a greater sense of “tension” and “minerality” to the wine, has kept the giving, comforting sensation that lovers of Heidsieck have always responded so positively to. In this regard, he has achieved the seemingly impossible: Improving upon an already world-class Champagne.

 

Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve

Aromas of brioche and warm persimmon mingle with vanilla and creme brulee, and turn to flavors of warm cinnamon toast, apricot, and a hint of dried flowers, all vivid with perfectly calibrated acidity. There’s a gorgeous balance here between the minerality and more lush flavors, and the result is transfixing. Put simply, this is an utterly beautiful wine, and a rollicking success.

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