Champagne has an image of elegance – a beautiful lady in a sleek evening gown and James Bond (Sean Connery or Daniel Craig – the rest were buffoons) toasting the New Year with Bollinger Extra Brut 1953 and fresh oysters or beluga caviar. This luxe image may lead people to consider Champagne to be an extravagance only for special occasions. In actuality, Champagnes are wonderfully versatile, with an ability to complement a formal meal or a fish-fry. A Champagne dinner is always full of surprises, delightful wine, and bubbles!

Chevalier Bruce Zappan, Dame Adriana LoPiccolo and Officier Leo Levinson
Chevalier Bruce Zappan, Dame Adriana LoPiccolo and Officier Leo Levinson

The Société Mondiale du Vin of the Bailliage de Philadelphie of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs teamed with The Bercy, a restaurant featuring French-accented food, to showcase the breadth of expression of “the bubbly.” Helping us with the wine pairing was Steven Gullo, who placed 3rd in the 2016 national Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Young Sommeliers competition.

Vice Echanson de Societe Mondiale du Vin Eliav Barr, Lynn Levinson and Officier Leo Levinson
Vice Echanson de Societe Mondiale du Vin Eliav Barr, Lynn Levinson and Officier Leo Levinson

The wines were chosen to show how different Champagne could be in the region. Accordingly, the Champagnes featured originated from smaller grower-producers, as opposed to the large Domaines. Mondiale members experienced the breadth of grape mixes (Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs), different degrees of residual sugars, and different styles of Rose (mixtures of Champenoise Red wines and the Saignée method). As a surprise, we included a pure red wine grown in Champagne – the Champénoise Pinot Noir. This wine was a big hit – with a style reminiscent of a lovely Côte de Nuits Burgundy.

Austin Schafer, the Chef de Cuisine at The Bercy crafted a lovely French-inspired menu designed to complement these extraordinary wines. The menu included modern twists on classic Champagne-friendly foods, such as a Caviar Brioche Toast with a whole quail egg yolk, and oysters thermidor flavored with Tasso ham.

Menu

Hors D’Oeuvres
Caviar Brioche Toast
Tuna Tartare Napoléon, Watermelon Radish
Mushroom Croquettes, Hazelnut Pesto, Pickled Maitake
Domaine Chandon Étoile Brut NV Sparkling Wine
Domaine Chandon Étoile Rosé NV Sparkling Wine

First Course
Stone Bass Crudo
Black Grapes, Crispy Skin Chips, Candied Orange, Espelette Oil
Agrapart et Fils L’Avizoise Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut Champagne 2011

Second Course
West Coast Oyster Thermador
Tasso Ham, Leeks
Françoise Bedel L’Âme de la Terre Brut Millesime Champagne 2004

Third Course

Crab and Saffron Risotto
Leek Fondue, Tarragon Breadcrumb
Pol Roger Brut Rosé Champagne 2008

Fourth Course
Roast Squab
Foie Gras au Poivre, Braised Trumpet Mushrooms, Figs
Ulysses Collin Blanc de Noirs “Les Maillons” Extra Brut Champagne 2014
Egly-Ouriet Côte Champenoise Ambonnay Rouge 2015

Dessert Course
Lemon Tart
Greek Yogurt Sorbet, Toasted Meringue, Pistachio Tuile
Veuve-Clicquot Demi Sec Champagne NV Philadelphia PA

 

Photos by Paul Koulogeorge