CHAM­PAGNE PAIR­INGS

Serve all these wines at around 50°F (10°C). Keep them cool in an ice bucket.

Food & Drink - - GIFTING FOODIE FINDS -

Cham­pagne Tar­lant Brut Re­serve LCBO 325167, $43.95

Start the evening with this com­plex grower’s Cham­pagne as a crisp, racy aper­i­tif, then carry it for­ward as a com­pan­ion for the Devilled Deep-Fried Eggs. It will cut through their rich­ness like a blade but of­fers more than mere re­fresh­ment, bring­ing all sorts of nu­ances of its own. The fine foamy mousse car­ries sug­ges­tions of mush­room, rye bread, le­mon and green ap­ple while the high pro­por­tion of re­serve wines used in the blend lends an un­ex­pected ma­tu­rity for the price. AL­TER­NA­TIVE SPARKLER: Trius Brut VQA (LCBO 284539, $29.95)

Pol Roger Brut Cham­pagne LCBO 217158, $67.45

Es­tab­lished in 1849 and still fam­ily-owned, Pol Roger pro­duces clas­sic non-vin­tage brut Cham­pagne. Medium-bod­ied but per­fectly el­e­gant, it gets the bal­ance of fruity aro­mas (pear, le­mon, ap­ple) and toasty, yeasty ef­fects just right. As a food wine it’s re­mark­ably ver­sa­tile and also re­silient—though seem­ing so del­i­cate, it stands up to even very ro­bust flavours, tak­ing our Zesty Fish on Potato Chips in its stride. Cham­pagne and potato chips is a fa­mously happy match, as this pair­ing proves. AL­TER­NA­TIVE SPARKLER: Paul De­lane Cré­mant de Bour­gogne Re­serve (LCBO 214981, $20.40)

Moët & Chan­don Nec­tar Im­pe­rial LCBO 509695, $75.40

Rich, weighty Shrimp Co­conut Bisque calls for some­thing with more sub­stance than a brut Cham­pagne, and Nec­tar fits the bill, de­cid­edly off-dry but with a sat­is­fy­ingly bal­anced acid­ity. The aroma al­ways re­minds me of a warm pear-and-ap­ple pie with but­tery pas­try but the flavour moves sub­tly to­wards more tropical fruit. It is, how­ever, a wine, not a pie, and it re­freshes the palate in a de­light­ful way af­ter each spoon­ful of soup, its own lin­ger­ing, hon­eyed af­ter­taste form­ing a de­lec­ta­ble braid with the co­conut. AL­TER­NA­TIVE SPARKLER: Bot­tega Vino Dei Poeti Prosecco DOC (LCBO 897702, $14.95)

Moët & Chan­don Brut Im­pe­rial Rosé LCBO 482026, $82.95

The la­bel says brut, but this sump­tu­ous rosé isn’t bone-dry, which makes it even more ef­fec­tive as a food wine. The still red Pinot Noir and Pinot Me­u­nier that gives the cu­vée its charm­ing coral colour also bring a slightly earthy hint all but masked by the cherry and rasp­berry top notes. I love how this wine works with the mild spices of our Asian Spiced Chicken with Broccolini and Mush­room Fried Rice, its fruiti­ness a great coun­ter­point to the dish’s savoury char­ac­ter. It’s also a fab­u­lous com­pan­ion to poached or grilled sal­mon. AL­TER­NA­TIVE SPARKLER: Cono Sur Sparkling Pinot Noir Rosé (LCBO 365205, $14.15)

Veuve Clic­quot Rich Cham­pagne LCBO 424341, $87.55

All Cham­pagne was fairly sweet un­til the 1860s, when English cus­tomers asked for dry and the style caught on. But sweet (or “rich”) Cham­pagne still has its fans and its pur­poses. Re­cently, Veuve Clic­quot has been mar­ket­ing to mixo­log­i­cally minded mil­len­ni­als its Rich Cham­pagne on the rocks with a twist of grape­fruit zest; I pre­fer pour­ing it with dessert. The wine’s ap­ple pie and brioche aro­mas work beau­ti­fully with the pine nuts in our dessert while lush hints of honey, peach blos­som, cit­rus and stone fruits form an ethe­real con­fec­tion of their own. AL­TER­NA­TIVE SPARKLER: Ja­cob’s Creek Moscato Rose Sparkling (LCBO 445825, $13.95)

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