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choosing it, pairing it and tasting it.
End-of-year parties are undoubtedly special moments of pleasure and sharing that we like to enjoy with quality food and wine. Festive by nature, champagne is also a delicate wine, to try with refined cuisine which will successfully bring forth the aromas. Fish, foie gras and fruity desserts: the experts of the leading champagne houses reveal their winning combinations.
The right champagne for each occasion
To properly choose your champagne, first take some time to taste it. For F. Panaiotis, Cellar Master at Maison Ruinart, Christmas parties are ideal for tasting a prestigious cuvée or a vintage champagne: “A sit-down meal encourages you to be more attentive to what you are tasting. Choose wines that stand out for their strong personality. They will have spent more time in the cellar, their aromas will be developed and will reveal fine secondary and tertiary notes on tasting.”
On New Year’s Eve, chilled and affordable champagnes are the best bet for ending the year on a beautiful note. “Whether with family or with friends, we’re always looking for good times together in addition to the usual excitement.”So select more aerated, frank vintages, such as the Ruinart Blanc de Blancs with notes of citrus, blending a supple and harmonious attack on the palate and a mineral and highly refreshing finish.
An iconic champagne from the Maison Veuve Clicquot, the Brut Carte Jaune will also seduce the most demanding of palates, with its fruity and vanilla notes.
Generally reserved for special occasions, champagne magnums or jeroboams will bring people together even more because of its unique format!
De l’entrée au dessert : nos idées d’accords mets-vins
From starter to dessert: our wine-food pairing ideas As Antoine Paillard stresses, heading the Pierre Paillard champagne house “champagne has the advantage of being able to be served as a dinner aperitif”.
Unlike still wines, it requires the most refined cuisine to fully express itself. Therefore, fish and seafood are therefore some pairings to prioritise when composing your menu.
As a starter, our sommelier suggests you a first pairing with smoked salmon to try with a Vintage Dom Pérignon 2008 champagne a longstanding vintage since it has been made by four hands as it passed between the Maison’s cellar masters. “Its notes of white flowers and stone fruits will enhance fish, without taking precedence over its flavours.”
The continue with white fish served with a fennel and candied lemon risotto, to pair with the final vintage of the prestigious line of Dom Ruinart. Brought to maturity for 11 years, the Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs 2007 unveils a fine aromatic complexity, worthy of the greatest Bourgogne chardonnays.
Taking pride of place on our party tables, foies gras goes well with stronger champagnes, such as the vintage Les Parcelles XIII from the Pierre Paillard Estate.
“It is a lively champagne, more tense, with a nice acidity that counterbalances the richness of the foie gras. The flavours are thus well balanced, for a pairing of supreme excellence.”
At the end of the meal, we will more easily opt for a rosé, with its fruity and elegant notes. Please be careful of overly sweet pairings, since they may overburden our taste buds. The rosé champagne goes well with subtle desserts, citrus fruits or red fruits, for example, to fully reveal gourmet notes.
A few tasting notes
Once your champagne is selected and paired, you now need to serve it in the best conditions. Forget about flutes and long, thin glasses! A great champagne is enjoyed in a large wine glass which will give it the space required to develop its aromas.
If a champagne is served fresh, the optimal tasting temperatures may vary from brut (between 8 and 10 degrees) to the vintage (between 10 and 12 degrees). We would also take it out the refrigerator about 15 minutes before tasting, in order to avoid the cold masking the aromas.