Let’s Pop Some Bubbly!

Today’s guest post comes from Harpers 2012 Champagne Educator of the Year, Jayne Powell, aka Champagne Jayne. Champagne Jayne was kind enough to share her top tips on matching champagne pairings for your New Year’s Eve event!

Which Champagne Are You? For most of us, champagne is simply a party wine to celebrate with and we never even consider enjoying champagne with food, which is a real shame because champagne is such a versatile wine. Champagne can be played like a ‘joker’ at any stage of a meal, provided you follow the basic principles of young wines before older vintages and light wines before fuller bodied styles.

Champagne Jayne’s Rules for Champagne Pairings:

BLANC DE BLANCS: The classic champagne style for oysters or any kind of seafood at any time of the day. Racy and lemony when young, 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 or even chicken. Blanc de blancs are the perfect partner in crime for Japanese cuisine or seafood entrees.

NON-VINTAGE: It’s not easy to generalize about food matches as there are so many styles of non-vintage champagne available. Young fresh and fruity non-vintage champagnes (Pierre Gimonnet, Lanson, Laurent Perrier, Mumm, etc.) are unexpectedly good with cheeses such as emmental or gruyere at any time of day. With warm entree dishes, opt for eloquent elegance, such as a Louis Roederer or Taittinger. With high protein-based dishes encompassing darker, nuttier flavors  require the muscle of full-bodied non-vintage like a Bollinger, Krug, Duval Leroy Rose or Paul Bara Grand Rose de Bouzy.

VINTAGE: Thanks to the overall palate weight and richness of vintage Champagnes, they can be matched with much richer, darker and more intensely flavored 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 delicate desserts.

NON-VINTAGE ROSE: Often served with sweet dishes based on berries in France, non-vintage roses are also a great match for prawns, lobster or dishes flavored with tomato.

VINTAGE ROSE: Serious aged rose champagnes have rich savory characters that can tackle quite intense levels of herbs and spices (think basil, mint, coriander). Vintage roses are absolutely amazing with duck and also magical with intricate Japanese dishes.

DEMI-SEC: Just like traditional port & stilton, this is a fantastic match with foie gras or thai dishes, but also apple-ly, pinot-based, demi-sec styles can match apple or red berry flavors on the palate. This sweeter champagne style is also a wonderful match with light creamy chocolate desserts.

Need more guidance about choosing champagne and sparkling wines? Visit www.champagnejayne.com or connect with Champagne Jayne @champagnejayne. Now get out there and start experimenting, it’s heaps of fun!