Now I know I’ve often said that there is a suitable champagne for every moment of your day, every kind of situation and any kind of company – regardless of what you’re eating, because drinking champagne is like having an orchestra play in your mouth – so many flavour notes and components. I have to agree with first lady of Champagne Madame Lily Bollinger, BUT to help you plan the the perfect celebratory in season menu, guaranteed to tease and please even the most demanding guests, I thought you might enjoy these useful rules of thumb about matching different champagne styles with food:
BLANC DE BLANCS – classic Champagne style for oysters or any kind of seafood. As blanc de blancs ages and develops creamy, toasty notes it becomes more of a match for fish dishes with cream or spice/perfumed sauces.
NV ROSE – often served with sweet dishes based on berries in France, but also a great match for prawns, lobster or dishes flavoured with tomato.
VINTAGE ROSE – serious aged rose Champagnes have rich savoury characters that can stand up to high levels of herbs and spices(basil, mint, coriander). So vintage roses are absolutely amazing with duck and magical with Japanese dishes.
DEMI-SEC – fantastic match with foie gras or thai dishes, but also applely pinot-based demi-sec styles can match apple or red berry flavours on the palate. This sweeter Champagne style is a wonderful match with light creamy chocolate desserts.
NON-VINTAGE - its not easy to generalise about food matches as there are so many styles of non-vintage champagne available. Young fruity non-vintage(eg Lanson, Mumm) is unexpectedly good with cheeses such as emmental or gruyere at any time of day. With entree dishes opt for eloquence (Gosset, Larmandier Bernier, Louis Roederer or Pol Roger), high protein-based dishes encompassing darker nuttier flavours on the other hand require the muscle of full-bodied nv (Bollinger, Krug or Paul Bara Grand Rose de Bouzy). Of course the best trick in the book is to splash some of the Champagne you’re intending to drink with the meal into the sauce of the dish. This will amaze your guests and ensure a successful food/wine pairing!
VINTAGE – thanks to the overall palate weight and richness of vintage Champagnes, they can be matched with much richer, darker and more intensely flavoured dishes – anything goes from fish to poultry as well as veal and pork, even smoked foods. Vintage Champagnes are also a superlative match for many cheeses and delciate desserts.
Considered a friend to family members of the top champagne houses in France and a great ambassador for champagne internationally, Jayne Powell (known as Champagne Jayne) is a respected Australian independent reviewer and expert in champagne.She holds a BA honours degree with distinction in French language, the globally recognised WSET Intermediate and Advanced Certificates in wines and spirits and has studied champagne at the Institut International des Vins de Champagne in France. Jayne particularly enjoys facilitating nights of champagne ‘edu-tainment’ for her enterprise and private clients.
Limited edition signed copies of Jayne’s new book “Champagnes Behind The Bubbles” can be ordered from the website. To find out more, visit www.champagnejayne.com or follow Champagne Jayne on twitter – @champagnejayne