Champagne is one of the most well-known and prestigious wines in world, produced in the homonymous region in Northern France. It is a really versatile wine, able to be paired with a wide range of ingredients and different recipes from all around the world.
Champagne wine, generally speaking, has high acidity enhanced by the fizziness and citrus aromas, well-integrated with biscuits and bread crust notes brought by the second fermentation in bottles (the most important part of the Champagne winemaking process).
Let's take a look at the classic Champagne Food Pairings below.
Champagne and Seafood are a Match Made in Heaven
The most classic pairing is with Champagne and seafood in general, especially oysters and sea urchins. These foods have a powerful flavour, a little bit salty, and a slippery texture on the mouth: the acidity of the wine perfectly balances the texture of these ingredients and the citrus-like aromas keep under control the long-lasting aroma of the seafood on the aftertaste.
For the same reasons, Champagne is perfectly suited for raw seafood pairings, especially from Japanese cuisines like salmon and tuna Sashimi; Champagne wine can also be paired with cooked fish, but it is less common because of the prestige and reputation of this style of wine that could be reduced by the coarse taste of cooked fish, generally speaking.
Champagne Perfectly Balances Out the Flavours of Pasta
Depending on the style, Champagne wine can be easily paired with pasta dishes, especially with some classic Italian recipes like Carbonara: the acidity of the wine perfectly balances the fattiness of the fried bacon and the slippery brought by the raw egg, cleaning the mouth and making it ready for another bite.
Champagne As a Dessert Wine
Moreover, sweet styles of Champagne can be drunk with a dessert, especially if it is made with creams and butter, like crème caramel and pastry, for example.
What Makes Champagne So Distinct
The most important feature talking about Champagne wine, and the characteristic that makes it well-suited for a lot of different pairings, is the autolytic note, brought by the second fermentation in the bottle, where the wine ages on its lees. Thanks to this process, Champagne wine has aromatic notes of biscuits, yeast and bread; the intensity and type of these aromatics depend on how long the wine is kept on the lees: with a short lees aging process, the wine will have delicate yeasts and smoky notes, while longer lees aging will ensure more “sweety” biscuits and bread crust aromas.
The autolytic notes are perfectly balanced by the acidity and citrus-like aromatics always found in this style of wine: these features are strongly linked to the growing climate, a continental cool climate with high rainfall level, especially during summer. Due to the climate, the grapes struggle to fully ripen, ensuring really high acidity and citrus and green apple notes.
When to Drink Champagne
Champagne is often used to celebrate and it is strongly linked to the idea of holiday and friendliness, for this reason it is often drunk without any food. However, as we have seen, Champagne wine is incredibly versatile and could be used as everyday drinking wine, you only need to choose the right Champagne style. In fact, non-vintage Champagnes are the cheapest and they are characterized by high acidity and delicate autolytic notes, it can be paired with different recipes and foods so it is perfectly suited for informal occasions.
On the other side, Vintage Champagnes and Cuvée Prestige represent some of the most premium and high-quality styles, asking for higher prices and formal or important occasions, like a birthday celebration or an important business dinner.
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