What dish with an old vintage ?
Imagining food and wine pairings is an exercise as fascinating as it is perilous. And when it comes to pairing an old champagne with a dish, the challenge becomes that much greater and more exciting.
Fairly unfairly, champagne is not considered a gastronomic wine, and is essentially consumed alone as an aperitif. However, many champagnes deserve a place at the table and in particular vintage champagnes whose complexity, depth and power go perfectly with the cuisine. The famous chef Pierre Gagnaire accompanied by his Sommelier Patrick Borras has thus tried his hand at surprising and dizzying pairings between a Bresse chicken and a Dom Ruinart. In Reims, at the Château des Crayères, sommelier Philippe Jamesse imagines food and champagne pairings every day, from starter to dessert. A challenge constantly renewed and taken up !
Powerful and delicate champagnes at the same time
If matching champagnes and dishes is already art, marrying old champagnes is a balancing act which consists in finding the right resonance so that one responds to the other without ever overwhelming it. Old champagnes, demanding and capricious wines, only support haute cuisine. Thus a 1995 Dom Pérignon Wine Shop will pair wonderfully with a creamed scallop or sweetbreads. Beautiful white meats can offer a nice answer to old champagnes, especially those made from mostly Pinot Noir.
The maturity of an old vintage
Old champagnes have this extraordinary and unique ability to pair well with dishes that are usually refused to the king of wines. Thus the truffle goes admirably with very old champagnes, those showing at least 25 years of aging. Their structure, depth and candied and spicy aromas thus flourish wonderfully. We can push daring far, and we have seen some great chefs embark on the association of game birds with great vintages or even the iconoclastic marriage between doe or venison marinated in champagne and a vintage from the most beautiful Champagne wine bars.