Champagne: A Wine for All Seasons and Reasons
Fancifull Fine Food and Baskets
Sparkling wines are usually reserved for special occasions, but why wait? At Fancifull we suggest cracking it open when you are looking for something that can easily transition between different food flavors and textures. And while yes, bubbles add a festive touch; they also act as a perfect palate cleanser between bites. The natural acidity of these wines helps brighten food flavors instead of overwhelming them.
Champagne is made from three main grapes: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. If it is made with all chardonnay it is called a Blanc de Blanc – these will be your crisper champagnes often with green apple notes. If pinot noir is predominate you get a toastier body and flavor. Of course sparkling wine comes in many grapes, many you’ve never heard of, from all over the world Most popular (other than champagne) are Prosecco from Northern Italy and Cava from Spain. These are inexpensive alternatives to pricier French Champagnes. The sparklers from the Loire Valley are often made with Chenin Blanc and of course there are a host of sparkling wines from the U.S. Australia has a sparkling shiraz (syrah), which is dark and inky looking but is fun for a change. And Rosé pairs wonderfully with many foods (think chicken and pork and many cheeses) and is so pretty in the glass.
When thinking about pairing wines, we go with two rules: “like with like” and “opposites attract.”
Light, fresh dishes call for a light wine, and sparkling wine fits the bill. Think of classic pairings such as oysters, caviar or cheese.
But bubbly is also wonderful with salty, fatty or fried foods because the brightness of the wine balances out the richness of the dish. The bubbles in champagne will often cut through the fat in cheese and charcuterie. The wine leaves you with a refreshed mouth and prepares your taste buds for another rich spoonful.
Sparkling wines and Champagnes are food-pairing champions and provide both complimentary (like with like) and contrasting (opposites attract) notes. It is a perfect wine at Thanksgiving as it goes with all those rich foods and can be drunk throughout the meal. Open a bottle by a roaring fire for a quintessential romantic evening or pop some in a spring garden for a buoyant memory. It is safe to say, champagne is a wine for all seasons and makes any moment a celebration.
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