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…
This is partly because drinking champagne is like having an orchestra play in your mouth – so many flavour notes and components. I have to agree with those famous words by first lady of Champagne Madame Lily Bollinger “I drink champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad, I drink champagne when I’m hungry, I trifle with it when I’m not, otherwise I never touch it unless I’m thirsty”
BUT to help you plan the the perfect celebration menu, guaranteed to tease and please even the most demanding guests, whatever the occasion, I thought you might enjoy these useful simple rules of thumb about matching different champagne styles with food:
NV ROSE – often served with sweet dishes based on berries in France, but also a great match for prawns, lobster, or any dishes flavoured with tomato like pasta. I love rose champagnes with smoked salmon and scrambled eggs – the perfect champagne brunch!
VINTAGE ROSE – serious aged rose Champagnes have rich savoury characters that can stand up to high levels of herbs and spices (think basil, mint, coriander). So vintage roses are absolutely amazing with duck and magical with Japanese dishes.
BLANC DE BLANCS – classic Champagne style for oysters or any kind of raw or grilled/ steamed seafood. I love vibrant blanc de blancs champagnes with fish and chips. As blanc de blancs ages and develops creamy, toasty notes it becomes more of a match for pan-fried or oven-baked fish dishes with cream or spice/perfumed sauces.
DEMI-SEC – fantastic match with foie gras or fragrant and spicy 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, Piper Heidsieck) 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 like Bollinger or Paul Bara Grand Rose de Bouzy) or even multi-vintage styles like Krug. 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.
Learn more about champagne by visiting www.champagnejayne.com
Considered a friend to family members of many of the champagne houses in France, international award winning champagne educator and author Jayne Powell (known as Champagne Jayne) is a respected 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.
To find out more, visit www.champagnejayne.com or follow Champagne Jayne on twitter – @champagnejayne