Last year I made this original post and thought that it would be of interest to you for this upcoming New Years eve. I’ve added some additional text and champagnes for you. Hopefully you will be able to find these more recent sparkling wines.
I recently watched The Social Network and thought if I was Mark Zuckerberg, what could I have for New Years eve with my friends?
I think the ultimate indulgence would be sturgeon caviar from the Caspian Sea and vintage French champagne. The four most prized caviar are the Beluga, Osetra, Sevruga, and Sterlet. I did a quick check on the internet and saw that the price for Osetra caviar is around US$500 for 2 oz. 2 oz of Sevruga caviar is US$400. 2 oz of Beluga caviar is US$350.
How to Serve Caviar?
I’m not a caviar expert, so I checked with www.igourmet.com. This is their recommendation: “To allow the delicate flavor of the caviar to come through, serve the caviar on a plain base, such as the traditional buckwheat blini. Plain crackers, toasted brioche, or challah bread are all perfect substitutes. You can then top with a small dollop of crème fraiche on the blini, then add the caviar. For the purist, just enjoy the caviar by the spoonful will no adornment, pressing the eggs against the roof of your mouth with your tongue until they pop.
On the subject of serving Caviar, never use metal. The delicate nature of Caviar is so fragile that using a metal bowl or spoon will give the caviar an “off” flavor of a metallic tang. In haut cuisine, Caviar should be served in a bowl made of ice with a pearl or bone spoon. If you don’t have the luxury of such serving wear, glass will work fine. If all else fails, use plastic before you ever consider using metal serving ware.”
Fish may shine though with a squirt of lemon, but do not apply acidic liquids to caviar, as this can neutralize any flavor…”
If you cannot afford sturgeon caviar (yet), you can try salmon or trout caviar this New Years eve. Being in Vancouver, I think salmon caviar should be really easy to find.
Champagne for Caviar
Assuming you have your 2 oz of beluga caviar to share with a friend(s), which champagne to enjoy it with? Most champagne is non-vintage. It is a blend of wines from different years, bottled and fermented a second time. The blending of different vintages allows Champagne houses to design a house style, which people enjoy. James Bond‘s favorite champagne house is Bollinger. Some champagne is labelled “Blanc de blanc” and is made solely from Chardonnay grapes. Other champagne may be labelled “Blanc de noir” and would be made with Pinot Noir and maybe Pinot Meunier. Blended champagnes are usually a mix of wines from all three grapes varieties.
From what I’ve read about champagne and caviar pairings, the saltier the caviar, the younger and fresher the champagne to pair with it. The bone dry finish of a champagne can stand up to the complex oily, fishy and salty flavors of caviar. As a champagne ages, it mellows and brings on it’s own flavours and character, so choose a less salty caviar.
Doing a quick check at www.everythingwine.ca, I came up with the following French champagne:
There are many more. There was 101 sparkling French wines listed from my query. Some are not Champagne from the 101, and could be a cheaper alternative. A Cremant would be something you may want to select.
Some champagne and sparkling wines that I’ve rated last year:
Cuillier Pere et Fils, Brut Selection (France) Pinot Noir / Chardonnay NV. Fine bubble with green apple and pear aromas. Fine bubble with lemon and pear flavour. This wine was like enjoying a fresh pear. Very tasty!
Moreson Blanc de Blancs Brut Method Cap Classic (South Africa) Chardonnay NV. A very fine bubble. Red apple, citrus, light spice and bready flavour. It had a long finish. Nice.
Codorniu Sparkling Brut (Spain) Pinot Noir NV. Light orangy pink in colour. Light strawberry aroma. Very bracing in your mouth, with strawberry and raspberry flavours.
Villa Rinaldi Rose di Barriciaia 1998 (Italy). This is a Pinot Noir based sparkling wine that has some oak aging. Peachy, orange colour in the glass. Nutty, lemony and creamy / lees on the palate. Very small, fine bubbles.
A few favourite Champagnes and other sparkling wines from this year:
- Perrier Jouet Grand Brut N/V, France. This is also a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Pale lemon in colour. Light lees and toast on the nose. Light body with apples and white fruit. Small bubbles with lower acidity. I really enjoyed this one in part due to the lower acidity which made this Champagne very easy to drink on its own.
- Bastianich Flor Prosecco, Italy ($19.99). A delightful wine with melon and lychee aromas. Off dry, light body, with cinnamon, citrus and peach flavours. Small bubble. This is such a fun wine. Start a party with this wine.
- Champagne de Venoge Cordon Bleu Brut Select NV, France ($62.99). This Champagne is a blend of 2/3 PinotNoir and Pinot Meunier (both red grapes), and 1/3 Chardonnay. Light lemon in colour. Nice medium toasty nose. Medium acidity and body. Citrus, some spice and toasty flavours on the palate.
- Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvee Brut N/V, New Zealand ($24.99). I was really surprised by this wine. It won me over with it’s fresh fruit flavours. Light citrus and stone fruit on the nose. Lots of flavour in your mouth with citrus, lime, kiwi fruit, and herbal flavours. Small bubble with medium acidity.
- Schramsberg Vineyards Blanc de Blanc, 2008, California. Light lemon colour. Vanilla and spice on the nose. High acid with small bubbles. Lemons and green apples greet your tongue. A very nice, elegant dry sparkling wine.
- Roederer Estate L’ermitage 2002. This sparkling wine is made by the famous Roederer Estate Champagne house from France. It is a blend of 52% Chardonnay and 48% Pinot Noir. Pale lemon in colour. Toast, lees, and caramel aromas. Tiny bubbles in the glass. High acidity with lots of citrus flavour and some toastiness on the finish. Nice.
- Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rose, France ($24.99). This Cremant is produced from the Pinot Noir grape. Watery pink colour. Light strawberry aroma. High in acid with small bubbles. Dry with apple, cherry and strawberry flavours to tickle your tongue. Elegant. Easy to enjoy.
Enjoy and have a prosperous New Year!