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Pairing the bubbly with the right food

india Updated: Mar 05, 2011 01:29 IST
Rupali Dean
Rupali Dean
Hindustan Times
King of wines

Champagne is known as the King of wines or as most people call it the wine for kings. Probably the best description of Champagne is by Dom Perignon when he had his first taste, “Come quickly, I am tasting stars”. Remember to have it with some food as champagnes are not just for celebrations.

Blanc de Noirs

The Grape:
Made solely from red Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, with a deeper golden colour.

Goes well with: Lighter meat dishes like chicken dinners, pigeon breast, partridge, veal, and pork.

ChampagneNon-Vintage Champagnes

The Grape: While most houses mix together the three main grape varieties that are planted in the Champagne appellation — Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier — the proportion of each will vary. Some non-vintage wines are wholly made from Chardonnay (Blanc de Blanc) or from black grapes (Blanc de noirs). They are made from grapes from multiple vintages.

Goes well with: Generally fruitier and lighter hence recommended with cheeses such as Beaufort, Gruyère and Emmental. It is also great with mushroom dishes especially mushroom risotto.

Vintage Champagnes
The Grape:
A vintage is that which is made from grapes that were mostly grown and harvested in a particular year. Vintage year is declared if the Champagne is good enough and a cut above other years. The grapes used are all from one specific vintage.
Goes well with: Black truffle-scented foods and with cheeses such as Parmesan and lightly smoked foods. All types of fish and seafood, especially when accompanied with a creamy sauce are a perfect match, as are lightly smoked foods, cheese, duck, caviar and poultry with a rich sauce.

Non-Vintage Rosé
The Grape: Commonly known as Pink champagne, it is either made from extended contact with grape skins or by adding red wine.
Goes well with: A very food-friendly wine, it goes well with prawns, lobsters and other seafood. It goes wonderfully with the freshness of a delicious Andalusian gazpacho.

Vintage Rosé
The Grape: As the non-Vintage, but, the wine is from a Vintage year (a cut above the rest).
Goes well with: Most have a rich, savory character and are delicious with meat dishes, and the power to stand up to high levels of herbs and spices specifically basil, mint and coriander as well as Japanese cuisine. I think scallops, roasted, with grilled red peppers and chopped almonds are decadent with the Moet Et Chandon Brut Imperial Vintage Rose.

Demi Sec Champagnes
The Grape
: Demi Sec is a term used to define a wine with medium sweetness; it can be a blend of any grapes. In Champagne, the addition of a dosage or liquer d’expedition after the secondary fermentation determines sweetness.
Goes well with: Foie gras is an obvious example. An edge of sweetness to the food (like many classic Thai recipes) then this style can provide a better match than dry. Matches well with dessert too, but the not so sweet variety. Maybe like a bread and butter pudding, jam pancakes and apple and quince tart with the Demi-Sec. It is recommended at weddings when serving the wedding cake.


Heavy foods or main entrees, usually do not go well with Champagne, however there are innumerous foods that pair beautifully with it, making for yummy finger foods and an elegant looking soirée. The food you choose ought to be more along the line of light-appetisers or light, soft cheese and eggs.