Late last week, I was fortunate enough to attend a grower-champagne dinner. This is a category of bubbly that’s unfamiliar to many people, though, in all honesty, it shouldn’t be: The amount of pleasure to be derived from these wines is nothing short of astounding.
The chef and sommelier put together a dinner of such astounding complexity, such paradigm-shifting creativity, that I honestly don’t think anyone here will be able to look at Champagne the same way again. All these wines were produced by the same people who grew the grapes, which meant a far deeper sense of both terroir and idiosyncrasy than, for example, even the most expensive Grande Marque bottlings.
And the food that the chef prepared put to rest, once and for all, the ridiculous claim that so many people make: That good bubbly is best enjoyed on its own, preferably at some celebratory occasion. Indeed, the opposite is true, and dishes like smoked sweetbreads and tuna complimented–and were in turn complemented by–the flutes of Champagne that accompanied them. My only regret is that I cannot drink these wines every day. C’est la vie, I suppose. At least I have something to compare everything else to.
If you want to accomplish this at home, we have a food and wine pairing guide for you.