Chateau Champagnes – Charles de Courance Brut
Getting started with our Chateau Champagnes review series, we’re trying the Charles de Courance Brut Champagne. At under €20, it’s definitely on the cheaper side, but since we’re in France we’ll allow a healthy discount on typical prices.
In the Champagne region, the Charles de Courance vineyards produce low to mid end sparkling wine, with the right blend and geographical location to claim the coveted “Champagne” classification. The majority of their bottles range from €15-35, so hardly breaking the bank, but enough to get good quality wine for your money.
In addition to the Charles de Courance Brut, they also offer a number of other similar blended Champagnes including a Rosé we’ll be reviewing in a later post.
As typical with a Champagne, this bottle is pale gold with a significant number of smaller bubbles. The carbonation is active initially, with more bubbles than typical. On the nose this wine is fully developed, albeit clean, with strong yeasty notes reminiscent of breads – almost featuring sweeter notes such as brioche coming through with the scent. Clear and crisp fruit notes such as green apple also join the party, with the final result coming in as a sweet breakfast treat (brioche and apples), although we must admit this may be slightly skewed by our tasting taking place early in the day!
At first taste, the wine lives up to its Brut label, although we feel it may even be faring further into the Extra Brut territory. Dry in the mouth, the rest of the wine comes in pretty much in the middle of the road – medium acidity, medium alcohol, and medium body. The flavors are present, but not overly powerful, and carry the wine through nicely on your palette.
The stronger intensity aromas of yeast (brioche, almonds, croissants) are balanced well with the lighter fruit flavors of green apple and exotic fruits (think a mild pineapple). Buttery notes also undercut the more fruity flavors to produce an easily drinkable wine.
The aftertaste is decently long, but could be longer, with the sweeter notes finally coming through on the finish. Final tastes of pineapple and honey push through on the finish to provide a sweet finale for the bottle.
As with many Champagnes, we’d suggest pairing the Charles de Courance Brut with cheeses. The dryness combined with the sweet fruit notes would pair well with creamy (eg, triple cream cheeses such as Brie), although stronger cheeses (such as blue cheese) should generally be avoided.
The notes would also pair well with light fish, such as smoked salmon, oysters, or even shellfish and shrimp. Due to the vigorous nature of the wine, it could also be an excellent food pairing with canapés – a great lively wine to start off the evening or afternoon.
Generally, we’d suggest avoiding the stronger tasting classic “Champagne pairings” here, and would opt to keep things on the lighter end of the culinary taste spectrum.
For the price point, this Champagne impresses. It lacks finesse, but for a <€20 bottle, this should be expected. The tasting notes are remarkable considering the relatively low age of the bottle, and again with the price in mind. More fruity aromas and tasting notes would carry the wine significantly further, as the yeast notes somewhat overpower, but only mildly so.
Most notably, the carbonation is highly vigorous. Bubbles perforate the taste significantly, and the carbonation may even be slightly over-done. However, not a problem at all if you’re drinking it over the course of an afternoon!
This wine is already fully developed, so we wouldn’t suggest ageing it prior to drinking. We’d recommend buying a couple of bottles to keep as accompaniment to canapés, a cheese board, or with light fish starters. Although a great taste, probably not the best to be tried purely as a standalone celebratory drink, but definitely a great way to enhance an evening.
One to try on the cheaper end if you’re keen on bubbly, dry, and yeasty champagnes. We’re definitely buying a few more bottles!
You should be able to find this Champagne easily at a variety of retail locations or online with ease. The vineyard produces a significant quantity of bottles, so it should be more than easy enough to get your hands on some if you’d like to try them out!