Drinking and Pairing Champagne with Food

Champagne is the most northerly wine region in France and is situated 90 miles northeast of Paris. The soil is extremely chalky which gives Champagne its signature minerality and contributes to its high acidity. Champagne is produced by a traditional technique known as "méthode Champenoise." This technique requires a second fermentation in bottle which gives Champagne its bubbles. Both vintage and non-vintage Champagnes are produced and nearly all Champagne is a blend of just three grape varietals: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. These grapes are pressed immediately, separating the clear juice from the color-causing skins. Blanc de Blancs Champagnes are made entirely of Chardonnay and represent the most elegant wines. Blanc de Noirs, made from only red grapes, are harder to come by, but tend to be rich and full-bodied. Rosé Champagne is also produced by blending clear Champagne with a small amount of red wine. Most Champagne comes from one of the large Champagne houses located in the cities of Reims, Épernay, and Aÿ. These houses represent some of the best known brands of Champagne such as Veuve Clicqout and Moët & Chandon, and can be identified by a tiny code on the front label beginning with the letters "NM." There are also many excellent Champagnes produced by smaller growers and co-operatives which can be identified by the letters "RM" and "CM," respectively. Champagne can range from light and elegant to full and toasty, with most being Brut (dry) in style. Be careful when buying Champagnes labeled "Extra Dry" as these are actually sweeter than Brut! All Champagne should display high acidity with tart citrus flavors of lemon, lime, and green apple. Toastier styles should show grilled bread and yeasty flavors.

Champagne is one of the ultimate food wines. It is excellent with sushi and shellfish. Oysters and caviar are considered classic with Champagne and it works wonders with tempura and other fried foods. The French tradition of Champagne and cake should probably be avoided unless a sweeter demi-sec or doux style is used.

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Champagne pairs well with:

Light Fish

Shrimp

Japanese cuisine

Foods cooked via Fry

Served Cold dishes