Cham­pagne toasts at Wine Story

The bub­bly comes alive with food that is nei­ther too sweet nor too spicy

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - LIFESTYLE & FOOD - By Den­nis Ladaw @In­q_Lifestyle

Adin­ner can turn into a sparkling ex­pe­ri­ence if it’s served with cham­pagne. This was re­cently demon­strated when the up­scale shop Wine Story hosted a wine tast­ing and food pair­ing ses­sion at its Shangri-La Plaza branch in Man­daluy­ong City.

The menu con­sisted of lo­cal fa­vorites pre­pared by Mar­garita Fores. The cham­pagne was sup­plied by Cham­pagne Thienot, a rel­a­tively new pro­ducer based in Taissy, a com­mune in the Marne depart­ment of north­east­ern France.

The brand is dis­trib­uted in the Philip­pines by Wine Story, which invited Thienot Asia gen­eral man­ager Thomas Per­cil­lier to present the Thienot Col­lec­tion at the event.

“Cham­pagne comes alive with food,” he said. “It can be well-matched... for as long as some thought is ex­er­cised. One must veer away from ex­cesses. Noth­ing should be too sweet or too spicy.”

Cham­pagne Thienot was launched 31 years ago, which is still rel­a­tively re­cent for an in­dus­try where pro­duc­ers are more than two cen­turies old. Per­cil­lier ad­mit­ted that it is a daunt­ing task to start a new cham­pagne house in this age, with many dis­tin­guished old brands as com­peti­tors.

This, how­ever, didn’t dis­cour­age Alain Thienot, a for­mer grape bro­ker in France, from start­ing his own cham­pagne house. As a bro­ker for 20 years, Thienot had worked closely with a vast net­work of grape sup­pli­ers in the wine re­gion of Cham­pagne, France. This was the key el­e­ment to Thienot’s suc­cess.

4 va­ri­eties

The tast­ing event was held at Wine Story’s pri­vate din­ing room where Per­cil­lier pre­sented four cham­pagne va­ri­eties from the Thienot Col­lec­tion.

The Thienot Brut NV (45 per­cent Chardon­nay, 35 per­cent Pinot Noir, 20 per­cent Pinot Me­u­nier) was served with Fores’ starter, Fried Panko-Crusted Zuc­chini and Caper Ber­ries.

“The Brut NV com­bines fi­nesse, fruit and fresh­ness in a blend of the grape va­ri­eties,” Per­cil­lier ex­plained. “It’s like a bou­quet, where flo­ral and fruit aro­mas blend.”

The sec­ond course, Pechay Sushi Roll with Crab Co­ral Driz­zle and Black Se­same Seeds, was served with a glass of Thienot Brut Rose. Per­cil­lier pointed out the tangy notes of Morello cherry and black cur­rant that de­velop into red berry fruit notes.

Around half of this cham­pagne is com­posed of Pinot Noir grapes pro­duced from old vines, with the re­main­der con­sist­ing of Chardon­nay and Pinot Me­u­nier.

Lux­ury

Cu­vee Alain Thienot 2002 was paired with the third course, Capiz Scal­lops with Edamame Mash. This smooth cham­pagne has a sub­tle blend of Chardon­nay and Pinot Noir.

“It de­notes ma­tu­rity and is syn­ony­mous with lux­ury,” Per­cil­lier said.

The prici­est bot­tle was re­served for the last dish. La Vigne Aux Gamins 2004 was poured when the fourth course, con­sist­ing of as­para­gus spears wrapped in pro­sciutto and sake but­ter driz­zle, was served.

Made en­tirely from Chardon­nay grapes from the old vines of Grand Cru vine­yard in Avize, the wine had an al­most translu­cent ap­pear­ance.

Pre­vi­ously based in the French wine re­gions of Cham­pagne and Bordeaux, Per­cil­lier now shut­tles be­tween ma­jor Asian cities to pro­mote the col­lec­tion.

Chal­lenge

“It’s harder to mar­ket wine and cham­pagne in Asia,” he said. “Cham­pagne was never part of most Asian cul­tures so it was a big­ger chal­lenge to in­tro­duce the wine cul­ture into the Asian life­style.”

For­tu­nately, the more cos­mopoli­tan con­sumers in the big­ger Asian cities have long adopted the wine cul­ture.

Toast­ing cham­pagne with Asian clients is now part of Per­cil­lier’s job.

Ed­i­tor Thelma Sio­son San Juan

Macy Pineda, Hazel Im­pe­rial, Ali­cia Colby Sy , Jo Ann Ramos, Bianca Sa­longa, Mon­ica Tiosejo, Thomas Per­cil­lier, Malou Rosal, Kaye Koo, Apa Ong­pin and the au­thor

Cham­pagne Thienot Lineup

Green Tea Ti­ramisu Croc­cante, Black Se­same with Sake Poached Straw­berry

Pechay Sushi Roll with Crab Co­ral Driz­zle, Black Se­same Seeds and Ja­panese May­on­naise

Thienot Brut Rose

Cham­pagne menu

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