By Jamie Drummond
NV Charlie Burger “Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Classé” Champagne France (Approximately $60)
So last month the cat was finally out of the bag, so to speak… and thank goodness for that.
After years of speculation as to his true identity, the nefarious Charlie, the mercurial character behind Toronto’s notorious Charlie’s Burgers underground supper club, came out of the closet.
Having known Charlie for quite some time now, I was delighted to be invited to try his just-landed, own label champagne at Toronto’s Le Select Bistro.
A month or so ago I was singing the praises of Growers’ Champagnes, and Charlie’s bubbly is most certainly one of those. His champagne is produced by the historied house of Henry de Vaugency, established way back in 1732. All of the grapes are sourced from their own Grand Cru vineyards on the outskirts of Oger, and what with this being a Blanc de Blancs champagne, the fruit is Chardonnay alone, without the support of Pinots Noir and Meunier.
The Blanc be Blancs style lends itself to producing ligher, more elegant, feminine, and often almost ethereal wines, and this bottling is no exception. Such is the delicacy of this champagne that one would have to be careful when pairing it with dishes, balancing those reserved flavours, and not overwhelming the subtle nuances inherent to such a wine style. In a perfect world I’d be pairing a glass of Charlie’s Champagne with with gently poached quenelles of whitefish.
Aromatically the wine is wonderfully clean, fresh, and astoundingly youthful, despite being made with fruit from the vintages 200/2001/2002. There is an autolytic yeasty character present, but it doesn’t dominate the abundance of green crisp apples that fill the glass. Texturally speaking, the champagne’s microboules dance a merry little pirouette on the palate, leading to a most satisfying finish. This is some classy juice with obvious pedigree that is a refreshing alternative to the more muscular, assertive, and structured champagnes that utilise red grapes. Delicacy, as I mentioned, is the key word here.
Charlie’s Champagne is certainly for drinking now, and if I were to assign seasons to its consumption, I’d call it a Summer/Fall Champagne. Charlie only brought in 200 cases of the stuff this time around, so grab it while you can!
Charlie Burger Champagne is available through Charlie@charliesburgers.ca