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Carpe Vinum’s Tour de France: Champagne Wishes

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If you follow my Carpe Vinum adventures, you know that a couple of us are heading to France on vacation this summer (I’m going Paris and north; my girlfriend is going Paris and south). A couple of months ago, we embarked on an in-depth study of the French wine regions where we’ll be traveling — our very own Tour de France.

For every Carpe Vinum wine tasting, I try to do a research post on our chosen topic.  It’s part of my self-guided continuing wine education.  Here’s the ongoing list of our Tour de France stages (the research post is listed first):

Stage One: Provence and our Provence Tasting
Stage Two: Alsace and our Alsace Tasting
Stage Three: Champagne and our Champagne Tasting (today’s post)

Without further ado, here are our Champagne tastings & pairings.  Bon Appétit!

Charles de Cazanove Champagne paired with Chilled Peach Soup with Feta Cheese and Glazed Beet & Burrata Cheese Toasts 
The Beet & Burrata Cheese Toasts are an encore performance here at Carpe Vinum.  They are especially good right now with fresh farmer’s market beets.  The Chilled Peach Soup with Feta Cheese is definitely going to be an encore performance at my house!  So refreshing, and surprisingly savory — I thought for sure it would be a sweet soup with peach in the title.  A tip, though.  Technically, this is supposed to be made with goat cheese, but I’m allergic, so my girlfriend left the cheese out of the soup altogether, and topped it with crumbled feta.  I made this last week for a winery picnic, and the recipe calls for the cheese to be blended with the soup.  Doing so changes the texture of the soup to something similar to cottage cheese, which was just wrong.  I scrapped it and started over.

Charles de Cazanove Champagne  ⭐⭐⭐⭐/90
10% Chardonnay, 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier.  Flavors of green apple, citrus and ginger.  Zingy acidity.  Slightly nutty, and a little yeasty on the finish.  Lovely.  I’ll definitely be back for more bottles of this one.  $32.

Beet & Burrata Pairing ↔
Really, really increases the acidity in the Champagne.  Honestly, it fights with the beets more than anything else.

Chilled Peach Soup Pairing 👍
Bravo!  This was amazing!!  A definite up-tick in acidity with the soup, but remains nicely balanced.


Diebolt-Vallois à Cramant Champagne Blanc de Blancs paired with Cheddar Gougères and Asparagus Gruyère Tart
I’m a terrible baker, and I know there are better executions of Gougères, but these were simple and really tasty.  I ate about 23 of them before I even left for Carpe Vinum.  And the Asparagus Gruyère Tart is a home run!!  There are only three ingredients — it couldn’t be easier to assemble, and it’s delicious.

Diebolt-Vallois à Cramant Champagne Blanc de Blancs ⭐⭐⭐⭐/91
À Cramant is a village in the Côte des Blancs vineyard/region of Champagne.  Champagne made there is almost exclusively Chardonnay based.  I bought this Champagne because it was featured in the documentary, A Year in Champagne, and I was curious.  Incidentally, if you haven’t seen that film, it’s definitely worth a view.  This sparkler did not disappoint.  Green apple, bread dough, and chalky-mineral goodness.  I’m going back for a case.  $40.

Cheddar Gougères Pairing  👍👍
Puffy cheese bread with Champagne?  Yes, please.

Asparagus Gruyère Tart Pairing  👍
There’s a lot of grumbling about pairing asparagus with wine, but Champagne suits it juuuust fine.  Lovely with both the asparagus, the cheese and the pastry.


Pol Roger Reserve Champagne paired with White Hot Truffle Fries
My girlfriend always says, “you could truffle shoe leather, and I’d eat it.”  Agreed.  These truffled fries are super.  Salty and truffly and just about perfect.

Pol Roger Reserve Champagne ⭐⭐⭐⭐/90
An equal blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay.  Pears and apples and pears. Honey and spice on the finish.  Powerful, yet elegant.  $45.  History break:  During World War II, Odette Pol Roger bicycled to Paris (a 12-hour trip) to carry messages for the French Resistance.

White Hot Truffle Fries Pairing 👍
Salt and Champagne.  Who’s up for a Grease reference??  They go together like rama lamma lamma ka dinga da dinga dong.  Soooooo good.  Sandy & Danny good.


Piper-Heidsieck Brut Champagne paired with Chicken & Waffles (Fried Chicken and Buttermilk Waffles with Black Pepper Maple Syrup and Vanilla Butter)
Honestly, I’d never tried chicken & waffles before.  It just seemed more like a silly craze than satisfying meal.  But you know what?  Chicken & Waffles rocks!!  The black pepper maple syrup and vanilla butter put this version over the top!!

Piper-Heidsieck Brut Champagne ⭐⭐⭐/89
Made from “a majority” of Pinot Noir.  Apples, pears, and almonds.  A little more fruit, and less bready than the others.  But another lovely.  $30.  History break:  During World War II, Piper-Heidsieck hid weapons in their cellars for the French Resistance.

Chicken & Waffles Pairing 👍
The hits just keep on coming!  Great pairing.  The sweetness from the vanilla butter is balanced by the spiciness of the black pepper maple syrup.  And the fried chicken?  I’ve been known to buy a bucket o’ bird from The Colonel and pair it with Champagne, so this pairing more than works for me.

I hope you enjoyed our virtual field trip to Champagne.  Carpe Vinum will be on hiatus over the summer break.  See you in the fall!


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