Sparkling wines are highly appreciated in their own right in pre-dinner celebrations and receptions of all kinds. However, the two are a perfect match when paired with great food.
When you decide to pair Champagne with food, There are generally two different schools of thought that Champagne goes with everything and is a perfect drink throughout a meal and “Champagne is not a match for anything and should be enjoyed by itself.’
In the old camp, I remember on my first visits to Champagne having been essentially indoctrinated into the pleasures of food and Champagne only to be enticed halfway through the dinner for the taste of a Bordeaux or a Burgundy or any red wine to serve as a wash for the beef lamb, chicken or even the lamb. While the other guests tried to pour Champagne into my insatiable throat, I remember Remi Krug elegantly serving his guests a 1978 Chateau Margaux alongside the lamb. For the much-hailed concept of Champagne rose with dessert, I prefer the idea over the actual practice.
Although I’m not a fan of wine and food pairing, anyone who thinks Champagne is a lousy thing misses the opportunity to enjoy some fantastic sparkling wine and food match-ups. In my opinion, the reality, as is often the case, is somewhere between these two extremes. Attitude is the primary obstacle. Most of us are comfortable with the idea of sparkling wines as a drink to accompany aperitifs or a reason to celebrate that the thought of drinking it alongside food might not even cross our minds. It’s more annoying than being told what you must or should not drink alongside your meal or, in the case, you should eat while consuming your Champagne. There’s also the possibility that Champagne on a wine menu at a restaurant list, particularly premium and vintage cuvees, generally the most appropriate, are costly.
The sparkling and Champagne wines aren’t just for drinking by themselves. However, there are many extraordinary food and drink matchings.
The English style of drinking Champagne.
There’s an acceptable compromise that allows us to examine guidelines without being shackled by policies. The connection between Champagne and food does not have to be a champagne marketing scheme or foodie craze. It was regarded as a legitimate endeavor in the 1850s in England. In a book titled The Art of Dining, the essayist Abraham Howard wrote: ‘The wines that are thought essential to an integral part of an English dinner include sherry, champagne, and port.’ According to Andrew Barr pointed out in his book, Drink, ‘champagne remained at the heart of the dinner and was served alongside the main courses.’ It was sweet even in the middle of Victorian England and thus more likely to consume with a dessert course than the other.
In the middle of Victorian times in the mid-Victorian period, when Champagne was more sweet than today, it was often served alongside main meals.
The trend for dry Champagne grew popular in the later century in England and was consumed during formal dinners and served with the main course of roast meat. Even though the game might seem shady for us today, less sweet fizz was more appropriate than sweet ones. In the Gentleman’s Cellar and Butler’s Guide (1899), H.L. Feuerheed wrote: ‘The consumption of Champagne along with any foods is in no way recommendable…Dry Champagne should be served with a roast’. In the dinners held between 1884-1905, George Saintsbury, author of Notes of a Cellar Book, offered 13 menus, and Champagne was served in 12 portions, including mutton, chicken, and beef.
Champagne and sparkling wine and food pairing guidelines
Do you have general sparkling wine, champagne, and food pairings guidelines? Like any flexible white wine like Chenin Blanc or Riesling, sparkling wine differs in its dryness relative to sweetness. Dryer styles are generally more versatile with food because they’re refreshing. If chilled, the bubbles bring the sensation of coolness and a textured feel to our sense of rejoicing. A good rose sparkler could convey an almost invisible solidity of grip, making it a great companion to seafood and preserved meats or games such as pheasants and partridge. The wines with extended lees aging are typically more food-friendly due to higher concentration and depth.
Champagne is overflowing with flavor. In a champagne flute, eleven million bubbles must escape to keep an equilibrium between the pressure of the air and the pressure of the wine. (Photo taken from champagne.fr)
I’m always skeptical when I read about a study’s results proving that wine and food are a marriage made in heaven. With a massive pinch of salt, I came across a study conducted in Copenhagen released in Nature, Scientific Reports that examined the most well-known pairing of oysters and Champagne. In the course of extensive research, which, for reasons only for the researchers, I wasn’t in the process, the researchers found various levels of glutamic acids in Champagne, particularly in the oldest aged vintage champagnes that have been aged longer on the lees. Umami is the fifth flavor. The levels measured were lower than the threshold for a taste of umami. However, when they were paired with oysters that contain an abundance of umami (and more specifically European oysters, as opposed to Pacific), They found that they both triggered an increased umami flavor as well as a synergistic effect which they, as boffins refer to it.
The pairing of oysters with Champagne is a classic pairing.
In the 2021 Champagne Committee Zoom presentation based on the research, a variety of synergistic matches were suggested as great options by the people within the Zoom room, such as mushroom risotto, scallops with pea purée, morel and chicken pissaladiere (the sweet-tart that has a flavor explosion of umami from onions, anchovy as well as olive) and Eggs Benedict. Unfortunately, I was in the Zoon room, so translating the theories into practice was challenging. The researchers also acknowledged that other elements, such as acidity and minerality, can alter the taste. In reality, there are way numerous variables – the seasoning, saucing and spicing and temperature, various varieties of sparkling wine, and even the mood to allow for a scientific analysis that is a sure thing.
The versatile drink
“For a glass of champagne and a lobster soup, the beautiful MissFotheringayy would have been anywhere,” she wrote George Saintsbury. A softer, sweeter shellfish such as scallops and lobster could be crying out for Champagne from the past or non-vintage Champagne with a high proportion of reserve wines like Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve or Krug. Fish and chips and Champagne is a match that’s made to be perfect, thanks to the crunchiness of the batter and the smoothness of the bubbly. According to Matthieu Languere, MS, manager of wine development at the Cordon Bleu Cookery School, sparkling wines, such as Prosecco, are an excellent choice with mildly spicy food since the dose in the wine serves as a calming barrier against the heat of spice and the mouthwatering acidity reduces the effect of the sauce.