Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love! And when I think of a celebration, I think of Champagne!
Chances are you that you’ve been enjoying Champagne for toasts or as an aperitif, but it’s such a food friendly wine (the most food-friendly in my book) it can take you from a toast, through appetizers, on to the main course and all the way to dessert!
I learned this when I spent a week in Champagne on a media trip. Essentially, I didn’t have a drop of still wines for either lunch or dinner for a week!
Inspired by spirit of love, celebration, and a great bottle of Bruno Paillard Brut Premiere Champagne, I thought it would be great to put together an easy three-course Champagne pairing dinner for Valentine’s Day.
Here’s what was on the menu for my easy three-course meal:
- Cheese (Saint Angel and Comte) with Smoked Salmon
- Fresh Linguine With Scallops And Herb Cream
- Dessert – Assorted Macarons
For my appetizer I chose a soft triple creme Saint Angel cheese and a semi-firm Comte cheese. Having these two cheeses offers a nice contrast in pairing cheese with champagne. The tripe creme Saint Angel is creamy, and rich with a texture and flavors of chilled whipped butter with just the right amount of salt and a hint of white mushroom. It’s rich, creamy character is cut by the wine’s effervescence, essentially scrubbing your palate in preparation for the next bite of cheese (Lord know it’s hard to only have one bite of this cheese!) On the other hand the Comte, an aged French mountain cheese offers a great illustration of pairing similar flavors and by doing so, the similarities between the cheese and champagne are amplified. The nutty, brown butter character of the Comte is a fantastic with the toastiness of the champagne. Thrown in some smoked salmon to round our your V-Day appetizers!
Other appetizers options I enjoy with champagne include raw oysters, smoked salmon and crème fraîche with potato chips (for that matter potato chips and popcorn are wonderful with champagne)
For my main dish I chose the Fresh Linguine With Scallops and Herb Cream because it’s easy enough for a weeknight (as V-Day is this year) meal, yet is decadent enough that it could also be made for a special occasion/company. I made the couple of small modifications – I used 12 oz of fresh linguine rather than 16 oz of dried, and I used a pound of Bay Scallops (which was way more than the 20-25 scallops in the recipe). Between the slightly less amount of pasta and more scallops there is literally a scallop in every forkful of this delectable dish!
My wife and I adored the Linguine With Scallops and Herb Cream, and it’s an easy but impressive recipe that came together in under 30 minutes!
Other great options include Seafood or Clam Risotto (recommended by Champagne Bruno Paillard for their Brut Premiere)
For dessert I picked up an assortment of macarons (including strawberry, chocolate, and taro) from my favorite local Gelateria, Patisserie, and Cafe – Sweet Orchid. What I appreciate about their macarons is that they tend to be less sweet than most others I’ve tried. That important for pairing with Champagne because a really sweet macaron would could make the Champagne taste bitter. That certainly wasn’t the case with chocolate and taro macarons from Sweet Orchid.
The Champagne paired beautifully with all three courses!
In My Glass
The Bruno Paillard Brut Premiere Cuvee is the flagship of the Bruno Paillard style. It is a multi-vintage blend of more than 30 crus, each vinified separately. It is composed of Pinot Noir (45%), Chardonnay (33%) and Pinot Meunier (22%); part of which (20%) was in barrel for the first fermentation. It includes between 20-50% reserve wines (a blend of 25 vintages, since 1985). Aged a minimum of three years sur lie with at least 5 months in bottle thereafter. Extra brut, very low dosage, less than 6g/L.
My tasting notes follow:
Golden straw color with pastry dough, lemon, grapefruit, red apple, pear, and a hint of white flower aromas. The palate approaches full-bodied, and is refined, ebullient, and balanced with a delicate mousse with offering initial flavors of gala apple and pear, then giving way to raspberry, cherry, toasted almond, lemon, ginger and a bit of honey flavors with a long citrus and chalk driven finish. 12% abv. Disgorged March 2017
Outstanding – 92pts| SRP – $50|Sample (all opinions are my own)
The wine is a great example why champagne being so versatile at the table. It was divine paired with both the appetizers and the main course. I especially appreciated bit of “weight” of this cuvée, which contributed to its pairing so well the richness of the Linguine with Scallops!
About Champagne Bruno Paillard
Bruno Paillard’s family lineage of brokers and growers in the two Grand Cru villages of Bouzy and Verzenay dates back to 1704. Following in their footsteps, Bruno began as a broker in 1975. He acquired a deep and extensive knowledge of the region and its wines. In 1981, at the age of 27, he started his own Champagne house – the first new maison in nearly a century. After renting a cellar for three years and purchasing carefully selected grapes from independent growers, Bruno released his first champagnes. He then built his own cellar, allowing him total control over temperature, lighting and humidity. In 1990 Bruno built his current winery, and in 1994 began purchasing vineyards.
Champagne Bruno Paillard’s vineyard cover 32 hectares (79.5 acres) of land over the best Crus of Champagne: Le Mesnil sur Oger, Oger, Cumières or Verzenay, for example. Les Riceys is the exception; situated in the south of Champagne, it is the undisputed flagship of the Aube. Altogether, their estate vineyard represent 100 plots, each with a different terroir.
Twelve hectares of the vineyards are classified as “Grand Cru” which is remarkable given that grands crus represent only 17 of the 320 villages of Champagne.
The fruit from these vineyards cover 50%-60% of his production needs. They are farmed organically and sustainably – a rigorous and delicate job given that his holdings are subdivided into 70 different parcels.
Bruno sources the remaining fruit through long-term contracts with high-quality, independent growers. Each wine is vinified separately in stainless steel (75%) and oak (25%). Although they are labeled as Brut, all of Paillard’s Champagnes are technically Extra Brut as their dosage is 6 grams or less per liter. Annual production is 450,000 – 500,000 bottles.
I had the pleasure of visiting Champagne Bruno Paillard on a media trip put together by the U.S. Champagne Bureau in 2014. And it was was among the most memorable, enjoyable and educational visits of my week in Champagne!
Related posts you might enjoy:
- Champagne Chronicles: Day 4
- Smoked Salmon And Potato Chip Appetizer with Champagne Louis Roederer Brut Premier
- How To Host A Champagne Pairing Dinner Illustrated
- A Three Course Sparkling Wine Dinner With Iron Horse Classic Vintage Brut
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