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Senior editor Alison Napjus joined Wine Spectator in 2000. She is the lead taster for Alsace, Beaujolais and Champagne and also tastes wines from regions throughout Italy.
Alison Napjus

Birthday Bubbly: A Breakfast Champagne

Charles Heidsieck Brut Champagne Réserve NV

Alison Napjus
Posted: September 20, 2010

I recently visited my sister and her boyfriend, in order to see their lovely new house in New Hampshire, but primarily to celebrate her birthday. On the morning of her birthday, we all sat over coffee to discuss plans for the day, and quickly decided that a trip to the gym was out and breakfast over a bottle of birthday bubbly was in.

From my sister's in-house stash, I selected one of my longtime favorite Champagnes, a bottle of the non-vintage Charles Heidsieck Brut. Senior editor Bruce Sanderson commented to me recently that this wine should be known as "Drink before 10 a.m. Champagne." I couldn't agree more—the wine offered lively acidity balancing rich, toasty flavors of coffee and fruit pastry. Despite its richness, it was refined and elegant, with a lingering, smoky hint of butterscotch candy on the finish—a great way to start the day. I rated the wine 93 points, non-blind. The Charles Heidsieck is listed at $55 a bottle, reasonable for a high quality Champagne, but this wine can often be found on sale for 10 to 20 percent less during or after the holidays.

WineSpectator.com members: Read original blind-tasting reviews for Charles Heidsieck Brut Champagne Réserve NV.

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Champagnes.

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