Can you tell your Chardonnay from your Pinot Blanc? ACHICA went along to a tasting evening with Champagne JACQUART to top-up our knowledge and discover just which corks we should be popping at our own dinner parties. We’ll more than happily fill our flutes to toast in another new year or indulge in the occasional glass of pre-dinner bubbly of a special occasion, but the experts at Champagne JACQUART advocate champagne as so much more than an aperitif. We went along to Kettner’s Salle de Fête, Soho for what certainly lived up to its promise of a ‘multi-sensory’ champagne experience.
Champagne JACQUART is one of the world’s leading champagne brands. It uses the metaphor of a mosaic to express the way it brings together individual smaller grape growers and producers to assemble something quite magnificent. On our arrival we were greeted with a glass of the Champagne JACQUART Brut Mosaïque NV. Delicious as it was, at this point we were oblivious to the bouquet of grapes and pear, mingling with notes of bread crust, and didn’t detect the subtle hints of gingerbread. Neither did we know that it would perfectly complement seafood, creamy chicken dishes or a cheese soufflé; but we were soon to find out...
Led through to the tasting room, we were seated at a table laid out with pads and pencils and, of course, copious expectant champagne flutes. Instructed by our Sommelier for the evening, David Varielle of Bar Boulud, we tentatively donned the black blindfolds that lay before us. We were given a sequence of ingredients to decipher purely by their smells. Upon being handed the first mystery dish we were hit by the aroma of (very specifically) Mr Kipling’s Cherry Bakewells. On closer olfactory inspection we concluded that they were cranberries – correct! White chocolate, fresh strawberries, biscuits, and butter were all to follow in this bizarre blind smell test - all smells that were very familiar yet extraordinarily difficult to pinpoint.
After awakening our senses we returned to the light and were challenged to identify which of the ingredients were reflected in each of the champagnes, a Champagne JACQUART Rosé MosaïqueNV and the finest Champagne JACQUART Blanc de Blanc 2006.
Canapés followed, each one perfectly complemented by one of the three champagnes we had tried - but which? Eventually we began to distinguish how the Rosé Champagne complemented rich cheeses like brie and goat’s cheese due to its sweeter, berry flavours, whilst the Blanc de Blanc worked wonderfully with battered fish and chips because of the balance between the delicacy and slight saltiness of the food with the fresh, light and slightly citrusy champagne.
As we don’t have our own in-house Sommelier to guide us each time we’re entertaining, these basic guides were a great help, but of course it’s ultimately a matter of personal taste. We also noticed that the glassware used to serve the bubbly is of great importance, and these Luigi Bormioli crystal clear stemware flutes (below), available at ACHICA now, are ideal.
We thoroughly enjoyed our evening with Champagne JACQUART and will certainly be considering this wonderful wine-alternative next time we entertain. It’s sure to add a little sparkle to a dinner party, in more ways than one…
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Emily Peck, Editor
View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor