Libations: Champagne

Champagne is synonymous with New Years, but my theory is, Why wait?  

Although I am a dedicated champagne “researcher” year round, this is prime champagne season. Two I have had tried recently (and kept the bottles of), and can highly recommend: Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve and Baron Fuente.

The House of Charles Heidsieck began in 1885. From their first gold medal—awarded four years after its inception and the first and only gold medal ever awarded to a champagne producer at the time and then followed by more than 180 gold medals and some 32 trophies during the last ten years—to the recent score of 93 points for the Brut Réserve in the Wine Spectator magazine, this is a champagne of serious pedigree. Here is their review:

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Like a Persian carpet this lovely, elegant Champagne seamlessly weaves together its elements, with fine-grained texture and vibrant acidity joining rich flavours of toast, patisserie fruit and candied lemon zest that show subtle spice notes of cardamom and ginger. Drink now through 2020.

 

The BARON family has owned a vineyard in the Champagne area since the 17th century. Baron Fuente Brut Millesime 2006 is a blend of 45% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Meunier, 15 % Pinot Noir. It was selected by Barbara Philip, Master of Wine, European Buyer for the BC Liquor Store chain, and co-owner of Barbariain Wine Consulting as an Insider Pick for August, 2015, Taste magazine. She says,

 

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Lovely toasty, yeasty notes start off this classic Champagne and there is a beautiful softness on palate. The finish is crisp and mineral.

 

 

 

There is some controversy about whether to serve champagne in flutes or not. Victoria Moore, wine critic for The Telegraph, says Nay (here) and favours the white wine tulip glass instead; others opt for the traditional and elegant champagne coupe (aka champagne saucer) popular in the early 20th century (think The Great Gatsby); to keep bubbly bubbly go with flutes. But really, any wine glass will do—white or red—champagne is delightful in any vessel.

  • Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve (here)
  • Baron Fuente Millesime (here)
  • One of our favourite wine critics, Treve Ring, has done a Champagne Annual 2015 (here)
  • For details on the advantages of each glass see (here).

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