Champagne Pairing Suggestions

David Hesketh, Managing Director of Laurent-Perrier UK and Master of Wine offers these suggestions on successfully pairing champagne with food.

“Whilst there are no hard and fast rules when pairing any food and wine, the objective is fairly simple: matching or pairing is the process where both elements complement each other, so that the sum is greater than the parts.”

David Hesketh

 1. The most important rule to remember when pairing any food and wine is that whatever a person thinks is a good match, it is! Given the very subjective nature of food pairing, my view is if it works for you then that’s fine. However, in my experience I’ve found certain pairings do work better than others.

2.  If serving champagne with poultry or game, vintages can be a great way to go. Vintages are declared in Champagne when it has been an exceptionally good year, and so each vintage will have different qualities.  A 1996, 2002 or our latest vintage 2004 would be good choices to serve with a rabbit terrine or stuffed chicken breast.

3. A ‘zero dosage’ or ‘brut nature’ champagne works very well with seafood because of its minerality. In this type of champagne, no extra sugar is added giving it a crisp, dry taste. Try pairing Laurent-Perrier Ultra Brut with seared scallops, langoustine or oysters.

4. Rosé champagnes are made using the Pinot Noir grape. At Laurent-Perrier we use the saignée method, which introduces tannin from the grape skins, providing another structural element in the champagne. I find it works particularly well with veal and also, because of the firm acidity, tends to work well with duck breast too.

5.  People often try to pair a rosé champagne with a dessert, but I would resist the temptation to do this. A certain amount of sweetness is needed in the champagne if it is paired with a sweet dessert, so I would turn to a Demi-Sec champagne. Many great chefs have matched the lightly honeyed notes and fruit profile of our Demi-Sec with peach and apricot desserts – one which comes to mind is almond pannacotta and apricot crumble.

6 . A non-vintage Brut is the signature of any Champagne House. Personally I think of the Laurent-Perrier Brut as a ‘vin de plaisir’ and as such it makes a perfect aperitif to start any occasion.