Yes it does. No, it really does. Even the meat? Hell yes! Champagne is the food-friendliest wine out there. Pipe down riesling! Chardonnay, be quiet you’re already part of this. Merlot? Just no. Go away and play with Cabernet.
This may all sound unorthodox but to those living in and making Champagne will scream this (figuratively) at you until they are hoarse. I have been very fortunate to have had sumptuous meals prepared where there is a matching champagne with every course. You will find below a menu, each with a course and champagne match that I have experienced and absolutely loved. Each match will show off a different element of how and why Champagne goes with everything.
Smoked Salmon blinis
Laurent Perrier Ultra Brut | Find it here
This match is about the match of something oily with something acidic. We all put lemon on our salmon, smoked or no. The acidity of Champagne is perhaps its greatest asset. It counteracts the oiliness of the salmon while the mousse (bubbles) and cream cheese are a perfect texture match. Ultra Brut is the driest stye of Champagne and with almost no added sugar added, is always best when paired with food.
Scallops cooked with Garlic and White Port
Grilled King Prawns with Garlic Butter
Charles Heidsieck Brut Rose | Find it here
Garlic is one of those flavours that can make or ruin a wine match. Too much will destroy a wine. The Charles Heidsieck Brut Rose has just enough fruit and sweetness to stand up to the garlic in both of these dishes. it’s not a sweet wine by any means, but it works perfectly. it still has a wonderful freshness that lifts the dishes and gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.
Turbot with Mushrooms, Ginger and Soy Broth
Bollinger La Grande Annee 2007 | Find it here
This is a blockbuster wine. The Grande Annee is a big Champagne…but it has a wonderful elegance to it. You need a big wine for this dish. Turbot is not the main component of the dish that you need to pay attention to here. As ever with fish dishes, it is what accompanies it that matters most. The umami flavours of the mushroom and soy are perfect with the toast and brioche elements of the Grande Annee. The Ginger is the perfect foil to the racy acidity of the Champagne.
Roasted Duck Breast with Asparagus, Caramelised Shallots and Hispi Cabbage
Roger Brun Cuvee des Sires 2011 | Find it here
A rich dish needs a rich Champagne. This champagne fits the bill perfectly. It’s higher amount of Pinot Noir in the blend gives it extra richness to stand up to the weight of the duck but also the sweetness of the caramelised shallots and the fatty meat is perfectly balanced by the acidity of the champagne.
Lamb Tagine with Figs and Oriental Spices
Gosset Grande Reserve Rose | Find it here
The spices here are as much of a challenge as the lamb. Gosset’s vintage rose has enough fruit and slight spice to it that the flavours from both the wine and food complement each other beautifully. Lamb being a fatty meat, again the acidity of champagne plays its part in balancing it out.
I think we all need a break at this point….
Pol Roger Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill 2006 | Find it here
This is just a bit of fun. My favourite Champagne, named in honour of Sir Winston. Only made in the best years, if you can find an older vintage well done! They aren’t cheap. but to take a break and just drink something truly outstanding, you can’t get better than this.
A Selection of Cheeses: Aged Parmesan, 48 month Comte, Beaufort, Montgomery Cheddar
Champagne Cazals Clos Cazals 2005 | Find it here
Throw that red wine away. White wine, yes, but Champagne with Cheese is just great. Don’t believe me? There is a bar chain you should check out. But for now, Champagne’s best match is Parmesan. The next best matches are the next 3 cheeses listed. The salinity of the cheeses is the perfect counter for the Champagne. Any aged Champagne goes very well with mature cheeses but this one is from a Grower Champagne house and one is a personal favourite.
Salted Caramel Chocolate Mousse
Billecart-Salmon Demi-Sec | Find it here
And finally, sweet champagne! Whenever you match a wine to something sweet, you need the wine to be sweeter. With 42 grams of sugar per litre this has more than enough. Plus the texture of the mousse goes perfectly with the bubbles of the Champagne. A beautiful end to great banquet.
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Inspiration/ImageCredits: instagram.com/laurentperrieruk, instagram.com/bandhresidencies