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Champagne Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV

Champagne from France - Champagne
A broad, crisp, biscuity and alluring favourite, from a house that will need little introduction to fizz lovers, but whose quality was very much on show in during this year’s Wine Championship. ‘Blockbuster Champagne,’ to quote England buyer Matthew Horsley. An International Wine Challenge and Decanter World Wine Awards silver medal winner in 2021.
Out of stock
Code: CH2871

Wine characteristics

  • Champagne
  • 1 - Bone dry
  • Pinot Noir Meunier Chardonnay
  • 12% Alcohol
  • No oak influence
  • 75cl
  • Champagne cork

Charles Heidsieck

By the time Charles Heidsieck was born in 1822, his uncle was already running his own Champagne house, Piper-Heidsieck, having moved to Champagne from Germany in the late 18th century and married into the Piper family. Charles grew up in the vineyards and gained experience at his uncle’s business, but his ambitious winemaking philosophy led him to found his own Champagne house in Reims in 1851.

The following year, he made the daring move of abandoning the Champagne-loving countries of Europe and testing the waters in the USA, where he was one of the first to introduce Champagne successfully. His vivacious personality earned him a great popularity and he famously became known as ‘Champagne Charlie’. After an eventful few years – during which time he was imprisoned in Louisiana on suspicion of being a spy during the Civil War, and was eventually freed by President Lincoln himself – he returned to settle in Champagne.

What separated Charles from many of his peers was that he always viewed himself as a blender rather than a grower: instead of buying many hectares of vines, he only invested in a few of his own, and began sourcing the rest of his grapes from a trusted selection of grower families, who had spent generations perfecting the care of their vines. The company now has 60 separate sites to choose from, encompassing a variety of different crus, and some of these plots are cultivated by the fourth or fifth generation of the same family.

Instead of vineyards, Charles invested ...
By the time Charles Heidsieck was born in 1822, his uncle was already running his own Champagne house, Piper-Heidsieck, having moved to Champagne from Germany in the late 18th century and married into the Piper family. Charles grew up in the vineyards and gained experience at his uncle’s business, but his ambitious winemaking philosophy led him to found his own Champagne house in Reims in 1851.

The following year, he made the daring move of abandoning the Champagne-loving countries of Europe and testing the waters in the USA, where he was one of the first to introduce Champagne successfully. His vivacious personality earned him a great popularity and he famously became known as ‘Champagne Charlie’. After an eventful few years – during which time he was imprisoned in Louisiana on suspicion of being a spy during the Civil War, and was eventually freed by President Lincoln himself – he returned to settle in Champagne.

What separated Charles from many of his peers was that he always viewed himself as a blender rather than a grower: instead of buying many hectares of vines, he only invested in a few of his own, and began sourcing the rest of his grapes from a trusted selection of grower families, who had spent generations perfecting the care of their vines. The company now has 60 separate sites to choose from, encompassing a variety of different crus, and some of these plots are cultivated by the fourth or fifth generation of the same family.

Instead of vineyards, Charles invested in 47 underground chalk cellars dating back to the 11th century, and these are still where the wines are blended and aged.

The non-vintage Champagne is made with painstaking attention to detail. 60% of the blend is wine vinified that year (using an equal split of the three main Champagne grapes; chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier) and the remaining 40% is a blend of reserve wines – a mixture of chardonnay and pinot noir ranging from between five and 20 years old. There are over 400 to choose from – more than most other Champagne houses – and once the team has decided on the blend, the wine is aged for a minimum of 3 years. Cyril Brun has been chef de cave here since 2015 having spent 15 years at Veuve Clicquot.


This process is actually much more complicated than the production of their vintage Champagne, although this is still selected from 60 separate possible crus, achieving a majestic complexity. The vintage champagnes are aged for three to ten years before release, and can of course age comfortably for many years thereafter.

Since 2011 the company has been owned by the Descours family – a very positive move, ensuring the company remains family run with a long-term vision for the future.
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Champagne&Sparkling Wine World Championships 2014

Gold medal: Heavenlytoast! Very deep golden colour with a full, rich, evolved, super-toasty nose,with notes of dried fruits, pencil-shavings, yeast extract, coffee and a flickof vanilla. The palate is...
Gold medal: Heavenlytoast! Very deep golden colour with a full, rich, evolved, super-toasty nose,with notes of dried fruits, pencil-shavings, yeast extract, coffee and a flickof vanilla. The palate is equally full-bodied and complex, in a smooth, intenseand very long, blockbuster style, without being heavy. Gorgeous!
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- Tom Stevenson

The Oldie

Superb.  

- Bill Knott

The Scotsman

It has a richbiscuity aroma and honeyed palate from the high percentage of mature reservewines.

- Rose Murray Brown

Decanter

Gold, Decanter World Wine Awards: An energetic nose of smoky lime zest, peach, butterscotch and toast. The palate is round and elegant with a creamy texture, delicate lime and strawberry fruit,...
Gold, Decanter World Wine Awards: An energetic nose of smoky lime zest, peach, butterscotch and toast. The palate is round and elegant with a creamy texture, delicate lime and strawberry fruit, lively acidity and spicy biscotti notes. A finish of fuity finesse and elegant minerality.
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The Mail on Sunday

Extra ageing gives aperfect balance of richness to refreshment.

- Olly Smith

Manchester Evening News

This famous estatehas been consistently making fabulous Champagne for many years in the chalkcellars that run underneath the city of Reims. Even the NV has complex biscuitnotes on the nose and a palate of ...
This famous estatehas been consistently making fabulous Champagne for many years in the chalkcellars that run underneath the city of Reims. Even the NV has complex biscuitnotes on the nose and a palate of rich elegance and harmony.
Read more

- Andy Cronshaw

ft.com

With an unusuallyhigh level of reserve wines in its blend and a minimum ageing of six yearsbefore release, this has wonderful depth of flavour with toast, brioche,caramel, white stone fruit and honey.

- Jonathan Ray

Financial Times

This is a house withextraordinary cellars and stocks of ancient wines. Under new ownership, it isin full revival mode.

- Jancis Robinson

The Mail on Sunday

My pick of theChampagne producers for a treat on New Year’s Eve is Charles Heidsieck. Thestraight non-vintage is a bullseye.

- Olly Smith

independent.co.uk

Picking up anon-vintage master award at the Drinks Business Champagne Masters 2018, thiscopper coloured fizz is richly aromatic. Expect plenty of toasted briocheflavours, alongside ripe red fruit, a...
Picking up anon-vintage master award at the Drinks Business Champagne Masters 2018, thiscopper coloured fizz is richly aromatic. Expect plenty of toasted briocheflavours, alongside ripe red fruit, a creamy nuttiness as well as crispacidity. It really does have it all. Complex, with a long lasting finish, welike this with smoked salmon and charcuterie.
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- Stacey Smith

Manchester Evening News

The best non-vintageChampagne is Charles Heidsieck but it comes at a price, namely about £40-£45 abottle. The Wine Society’s six for the price of five is therefore a greatoption.

- Andy Cronshaw

The Sunday Times

I had forgotten howgood this Brut Réserve is until a Parisian sommelier jogged my memory. Intensenotes of brioche and roasted almonds, with a delicate texture and lastingflavour.

- Will Lyons

Decanter

Neatly constructed andeloquent, with a nose of plum and yellow fruit, coupled with hints of springflowers.

- Panel tasting

The Field

Sometimes, however,only first-rate champagne will do, and none is more first-rate than that fromold Champagne Charlie himself, the Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve NV. Made witha higher number of reserve...
Sometimes, however,only first-rate champagne will do, and none is more first-rate than that fromold Champagne Charlie himself, the Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve NV. Made witha higher number of reserve wines than is usual in Champagne and aged far longer,it's a fabulous fizz, full of toast, brioche, honey and white stone fruit.
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- Jonathan Ray

Calibre Magazine

Charles Heidsieckrelentlessly win medals and trophies for its wines – it may not have themarketing clout of some of the most famous marques, but it punches well aboveits weight on quality. For this, ...
Charles Heidsieckrelentlessly win medals and trophies for its wines – it may not have themarketing clout of some of the most famous marques, but it punches well aboveits weight on quality. For this, its standard champagne, around half of theblend consists of reserve wines, the oldest of which date back to 1990. And youcan see that in the wine itself.It is honeyed, rich and powerful, with biscuit and brioche notes combined withlemon curd. For the money, this is hard to beat and will satisfy and impressall your guests.
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- Matt Pym

The Sunday Times

From the housefounded in Reims in the mid-19th century by “Champagne Charlie” Charles CamilleHeidsieck, this is one of the best non-vintage bubblies on the market. Complexand sophisticated,...
From the housefounded in Reims in the mid-19th century by “Champagne Charlie” Charles CamilleHeidsieck, this is one of the best non-vintage bubblies on the market. Complexand sophisticated, with sumptuous notes of biscuit, brioche and ground almonds.A treat for the senses.
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- Will Lyons

Times of Tunbridge Wells

Who doesn’t beam whenthey hear that champagne cork pop? This opulent, full-bodied and masterfulbottle from a small, iconic champagne house is the perfect pick-me-up — and avery special drink...
Who doesn’t beam whenthey hear that champagne cork pop? This opulent, full-bodied and masterfulbottle from a small, iconic champagne house is the perfect pick-me-up — and avery special drink to toast our dads. Charles Heidsieck age their NV champersfor at least five years before disgorging (far longer than the legalrequirement of 15 months) and use 40% of old reserve wines, thereby bestowingan ample core of buttered water biscuit, bread dough, nuts and acacia; allqualitative clues to a full-flavoured and attractively textured palate.Marvellous.
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- James Viner

The Spectator

From the house of the great ‘Champagne Charlie’ himself, it always astounds me how few folk seem to have heard of it. But once tasted, never forgotten, thanks to its glorious toasty, creamy,...
From the house of the great ‘Champagne Charlie’ himself, it always astounds me how few folk seem to have heard of it. But once tasted, never forgotten, thanks to its glorious toasty, creamy, nutty brioche and preserved fruit flavours and sheer weight and complexity due, no doubt, to the high preponderance of reserve wines in the blend. If you drink one champagne this Christmas, please drink this. -
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Jonathan Ray

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