Champagne is regularly served as an aperitif or as a toast at the end of a meal, so it is often overlooked when it comes to food. However, because Champagne is naturally acidic, it makes a really good food match – and not just for oysters and caviar as you might expect, but for a number of different foods.
Non Vintage Champagne
This is the cheapest and probably most common type of Champagne available. Non-vintage Champagne is blended from wines from several years and, in doing so, this ensures that a consistent style is achieved. Non-vintage Champagne is younger and, generally, fruiter than other Champagnes, so is a perfect match for slightly lighter foods, such as egg or mushroom based dishes, hard cheeses, pasta or risotto (particularly with a cream or mushroom based sauce), vegetables, fish and seafood. Strange as it may seem, non-vintage Champagne also goes really well with fish and chips, as the acidity of the Champagne helps cut through the oiliness.
Vintage Champagne is made from a blend of wines from a particular year, when the quality of the wine is good enough to declare a vintage. Because it has been aged for a few years, it has as slightly more complex structure than a non-vintage Champagne, so can stand up to stronger, fuller flavours. For example, all types of fish and seafood, especially when accompanied with a creamy sauce are a perfect match for vintage Champagne, as are lightly smoked foods, cheese, duck, caviar and poultry with a rich sauce.
Blanc de Blancs
Champagne is made from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, which are red grapes, along with Chardonnay, which is a white grape. Blanc de Blancs, however, is Champagne which is made exclusively from the Chardonnay grape. This is a rare style of Champagne and goes well with lighter style foods and, in particular, sushi, oysters, goat’s cheese, gently flavoured white fish and vegetables.
Blanc de Noirs
This is Champagne made from just the red grapes, Pinot Noir and / or Pinot Meunier. If you come across a bottle, try teaming it with full flavoured foods such as meat and cheese.
Demi sec style Champagne is sweeter than traditional brut champagne and is a good match for foie gras or foods that have a slight edge of sweetness to them. It also goes well with desserts (as long as they aren’t too sweet), as well as red berries – particularly strawberries.