TN: Charles Heidsieck NV with some age and Barbacàn Valtellina

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TN: Charles Heidsieck NV with some age and Barbacàn Valtellina

#1 Post by IlkkaL » June 27th, 2020, 12:54 am

I was fortunate enough to enjoy the company of everyone's favorite Otto yesterday as we shared a couple of bottles and some proper steaks. The wines showed well, the beef was stellar, happy times.

I haven't bought a bottle of Charles Heidsieck in a long while but I am quite fond of the house and their style. It is not that long ago that the wines were seriously underappreciated and underpriced in some markets as well. I think the prices clearly went up around the time the labels were re-designed but before that one could find the NV for well below 30 € and the 2000 vintage for 40 € on the Baltic cruise lines which was frankly just ridiculous. The 1995 Blanc des Millénaires was a stupendous bottle of course too, if slightly too dear for my wallet. I was fortunate enough to be able to visit the cellars and the garden and the elegant glasshouse above in 2012 which was right when they were about to change the labels. I was a fan of the old label - which last night's bottle had - but I suppose they felt that the old style was not doing them any favors. Anyhow yesterday we were both very convinced by the wine and how well it had done in the cellar. I guess the base vintage could be 2004 or 2003 but unfortunately this one does not share the "mis en cave" information some of their bottles do.

I had bought the Barbacàn last year with no knowledge on the producer. I suppose I had picked it among some other wines from the region strictly based on the overall strength of the shop's selection and the highly unusual label which I felt is an indication of confidence and a distinct way of doing things. As I shared my purchases with Otto he right away expressed his excitement for the bottle as he was aware of the producer's status as one of the very few "natural" producers in the valley. According to what the Internets tell me it spends 12 months in "small oak" but an oaky wine it is not. Obviously it comes from ridiculously steep hillside vineyards at 400m+ altitude and the yearly production is a whopping 3600 bottles. It has quite a singular style in the context of Valtellina fruitwise but it is of very high quality and interest. It states 13.5% ABV but feels probably a bit lower than that.
  • NV Charles Heidsieck Champagne Brut Réserve - France, Champagne (27.6.2020)
    Disgorged in 2009. A relatively bold yellow color, which is appropriate considering the age. The nose offers fairly ripe apple, some apricot, chantilly cream, buttered toast, a hint of bitterness, iodine and a youthful citrusy edge. There is a nice balance between mature notes and youthful crispness. On the palate it is rich and relatively dense with excellently integrated dosage. The mousse remains remarkably spry and persistent. Overall the wine is extremely lively, still on the youthful side, and showcases a wonderfully savory style and a lingering, seamless finish. Way younger on the palate than on the nose, this wine seems very much on the way up still. I would not mind buying some more for the cellar.
  • 2015 Barbacàn Valtellina Superiore - Valgella Söl - Italy, Lombardia, Valtellina, Valtellina Superiore - Valgella (27.6.2020)
    Popped and poured, enjoyed over a couple of hours mostly slightly chilled. It sports a most attractive dark red color. The nose is hugely generous - borderline sweet but so pretty and unadulterated. After the initial punch the more familiar savory red cherry emerges. There is a lot going on: mineral tones, slightest tarry hints, a very attractive medicinal note, complex spiciness...just wonderfully complex overall. Surprisingly dark fruited for a Valtellina Nebbiolo, but so exciting. On the palate it is on the rich side of medium bodied with likewise lusciously juicy dark fruit. Very firmly textured with appropriate, grainy tannins, seems promising for further ageing. Seems to tighten up - what was first a timid, lean wine is later something clearly well suited for the cellar. A serious, convincing bottle of wine.
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