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A Sommelier’s Free Associations About Champagne
By Madeline Triffon, Wine Director, Unique Restaurant Corp.

Champagne has yet to curl up comfortably in the American dining subconscious. We don’t generally consider it as a cocktail option unless someone suggests it to us. We "save it" for special occasions, for destination dining. It’s high time our culture discovers what a spectacular and versatile quaff Champagne is! Let me count some of the ways and reasons I love Champagne:

 

• You can correctly and enthusiastically drink Champagne throughout a meal. An all-Champagne dinner is one of our most popular special events. Such an evening celebrates different styles of bubbly paired in thrilling matches that still wines couldn’t duplicate.

• Champagne is soothingly versatile, particularly with "problematic" foods: tart dressings, sweet and spicy sauces (barbecue!), hot-hot dishes.

• Champagne creates an occasion, an event.

• Champagne is remarkably stable and travels better than almost any other type of wine. It needs just a day or so to settle after a plane trip.

• Nothing refreshes a palate from deep-fried foods (wontons, calamari, fancy fries) like a light-bodied Brut.

• Do you crave a dramatic juxtaposition of texture and flavor? Munch on a chunk of a firm salty cheese like Parmesan or Asiago while sipping on an Extra Brut or a Blanc de Blanc.

• Champagne’s racy acidity, perceived as a pleasant mouth-puckering effect, sparks our appetite in an insistent way.

• The ultimate palate cleanser, Champagne cuts through a mouth-coating cream sauce like nobody’s business.

• Champagne is the Sublime wrapping itself around the commonplace, like wearing flawless pearls with soft jeans. Try a cracker crust Margherita Pizza (fresh tomato slices, mozzarella & basil) with a glass of bubbly. Or better still: spicy Mexican food with a fruity refreshing Extra Dry.

• Champagne dissolves all social barriers: isn’t it appropriate for everybody in the room to raise a glass at a wedding or when singing-in the New Year?

• For us chocoholics: Death by Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Soufflé, decadent dark chocolate anything will bill and coo with an off-dry Blanc de Noirs.

• A glass of Champagne offered to someone you admire or love makes them feel special.

another tip

Interview with Madeline TriffonDuet Wine ListMadeline Triffon's Wine TipsUnique Restaurant Corp.'s RestaurantsMadeline Triffon' homepageSommelier Archives


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