“You CAN Have Champagne with Food!”

Toasted Pascal Boye, director of Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte, kicking off the French Regional Wine Luncheon at the 2011 Epcot Food & Wine Festival. Four delicious Bistro de Paris courses were paired with four sublime Champagnes from Nicolas Feuillatte and proved just that. Most people think of Champagne only as an aperitif or celebratory beverage but its great for all occasions and perfect with food.

Founded 30 years ago by Nicolas Feuillatte, who started out in the coffee business, Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte (pronounced f00-yacht) is now the #1 selling Champagne brand in France and the #3 Champagne brand worldwide. They have 2,200 hectares of vineyards in Champagne, France including 13 of 17 Grand Crus and 33 of 42 Premier Crus (villages in Champagne are classified according to their quality, Grand Cru is 100% and Premier Cru is 90-99%). Winemaker Jean-Pierre Vincent and his team turn lovely wines into exquisite champagnes. As Pascal called out for us, Champagne is a wine before the yeast is added and the wine is aged a minimum of 3 years thus producing Champagne. While the company was sold in 1986 to Centre Vinicole de la Champagne, the largest union of Champagne producers, 86-year-old Nicolas at 86 years old is still involved in the business he created.

Over the three-and-a-half-hour luncheon, Eric Weistroffer and his fabulous Bistro de Paris team popped bottle after bottle of Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte, 65 bottles to be exact for the 85 of us, to serve with our lunch.

Amuse-Bouche paired with Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte, Brut N.V.

  • Combines 2004, 2005 and 2006 grapes and aged 3 years
  • Grape Variety: 40% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Meunier
  • Aroma: White fruit, herbal with a touch of nut
  • Taste: Delicate bubbles combine with smooth, balanced herbal notes
  • Price: $30
  • My thoughts: Great everyday champagne and at a great price for this quality.

Snapper with Champagne Sauce paired with Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Cuvee 225, Vintage 2003

  • Aged 7 years
  • Grape Variety: 50% Pinot Noir, 50% Chardonnay
  • Aroma: Hints of honey, spice, vanilla
  • Taste: White fruits with vanilla
  • Price: $55
  • My thoughts: This was my favorite course and pairing! The Champagne itself is divine but then paired with the gruyere cheese and bread crumb encrusted snapper and the Champagne sauce, it knocked my socks off! This Champagne has more structure, depth and a nice lingering aftertaste.

Veal Medallion & Sweetbread Forestiere paired with Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Cuvee Palmes d’Or, Vintage 1999

  • Nicolas created this champagne in 1985 in memory of one of the loves of his youth. It comes from 8 famous Grand Cru Vineyards.
  • Aged 10 years, 1999 was a great vintage
  • Grape Variety: 50% Pinot Noir, 50% Chardonnay
  • Aroma: White flowers, honey, pineapple, vanilla
  • Taste: Soft round small bubbles accentuate the aromas and leave them lingering on your pallate
  • Price: $139
  • My thoughts: The story that goes with the Champagne is fabulous and when you see the bottle designed for it, its amazing! A lovely and very complex Champagne with many layers. This grand Champagne would be a wonderful gift or add glitz to any special occasion.

 

White Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry and Praline paired with Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte, Brut Rose NV

  • Beautiful pink color comes from brief skin contact of Pinot Noir grape with the wine.
  • Grape Variety: 60% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Meunier
  • Aroma: Red fruit bouquet
  • Taste: Full of strawberry, raspberry and blackberry layers
  • Price: $50
  • My thoughts: I love rosé and this Champagne variety is no exception! Not only is it gorgeous in the bottle, the pairing with dessert brought out the fruit of the wine, lightened sweetness of the praline and sweetened the mousse.

It was an incredible afternoon of champagne, food and meeting new people, including my table mates Pat, Pat and Denise, and one of my highlights of this year’s festival. See the gallery for more great photos.

With all the holidays coming up, try pairing Champagne with some of your meals. Everyone will be pleased!

For more on Champagne, see more Grape Occasions articles.

Santé!