Rose Champagne, which pairs well with
seafood and strong cheeses, is made by
adding a small amount of red wine during
the second fermentation.
considered superior and more expensive.
Recent vintage years are 1990, 1995 and 1996.
Lastly, there is the category of the prestige
cuvées, which incorporate vintage and
nonvintage Champagnes. Typically, these
Champagnes are a high-quality wine in a
unique high-quality package, with an unusual
bottle shape and a high price tag. The patriarch
of the prestige cuvée is Roederer’s Cristal, once
a favorite of Russian Czars and now favored by
rappers such as Jay-Z. Others include Laurent-Perrier’s Grand Siècle, Deutz Cuvée William
Duetz and Heidsieck’s Blanc des Millenaries.
KNOW your Champagne
Styles of Champagne range from sweet
to dry. Beginning with sweet is demi-sec
(meaning half sweet, but not as sweet as
a dessert wine). Dry, a shade drier than
demi-sec, is just a little sweet. Extra-dry is
almost neutral of sweet/dry, and brut is the
driest and most popular. There are also some
special categories that comprise a small
portion of the styles available, with one being
the super-sweet doux.
Rose Champagnes/pink Champagnes are
made by adding a small amount of red wine
during the second fermentation, or by letting
the juice of the grapes remain in contact
with the black skins for a short amount of
time. Pink Champagne has a rich and savory
flavor, and is great with seafood and stronger
cheeses such as chèvre.
Blanc de blanc Champagnes are produced
from 100 percent Chardonnay and are crisp
and clean. They are best paired with oysters,
shellfish and flavored whitefish such as
tilapia and swordfish. If well aged, the wine
will easily complement a creamy sauce such
as hollandaise or a sweet/spiced dish such as
an Amish chow-chow.
Guide to FOOD PAIRING
Champagne is a versatile wine that can be
served with a wide variety of foods—well
beyond the predictable pairings of caviar
and oysters. If you must pair Champagne
Time influences flavor. Once Champagnes
are blended and aged, they are ready for
drinking. Many Champagnes are released
as soon as possible, as cash flow is a critical
factor. Quality vintage Champagne is aged
for 7 to 8 years, and good nonvintage cuvée
Champagne for 4 to 5 years. The legal
minimum aging time in France for vintage
Champagne is 3 years, and 16 months for
a nonvintage cuvée. Nine in 10 bottles
produced today are nonvintage, and are a
blend of two or more harvests.
Blanc de noirs Champagnes are
produced from 100 percent black
grapes, Pinot Noir/Pinot Meunier, and
are full and soft in the mouth. The wine
will easily accompany roasted pork, veal,
and light game birds such as quail, dove