#ChampagneDay: Domaine Chartogne-Taillet & Oysters!
Champagne Day is one of those made-up holidays; on October 26 people around the world open a bottle of champagne (only the real stuff) and tweet about their experiences. I didn’t even know it was #ChampagneDay last Friday until I saw a tweet about it mid-day. After a busy work week, we grabbed the opportunity to open the bubbly, even though we were just having a relaxing evening at home! We had a bottle of Champagne Chartogne-Taillet so all we needed was an easy dinner. On the way home from work, I stopped at Surdyk’s for some nice cheeses and at Coastal Seafoods for some fresh oysters. This would be fun.
Chartogne-Taillet is an example of grower champagne or “farmer fizz.” Chartogne-Taillet grows the grapes and makes the champagne at their winery, which results in a more artisan product than the big mega-champagnes. On every champagne bottle, there is a little code that tells you whether the champagne is from a big house or an individual grower. Learn the code and you’ll be a smarter champagne consumer (if you can read small print!):
- RM = recoltant-manipulant, a grower who makes their own champagne, aka “Farmer Fizz.”
- NM = negociant-manipulant; these are the big houses. They buy grapes and make the champagne. Not bad, just more of a commercial product.
- CM = cooperative de manipulation, a co-op group grows the grapes and makes the wine together.
- MA = marque d’acheteur, a buyers’ own brand, usually a made-up name.
For our Champagne Day, we started with some crusty french bread and cheeses, including:
- Nocetto di Capra – a soft ripened goat cheese from Italy.
- Montasio – monastery cheese from the Friuli region of Italy; a nice firm cheese.
- Stinking Bishop – a stinky washed rind cheese. We love these kind of cheeses! Stinky, but oh, so rich.
- Northern Lights Blue – a local blue cheese that is a favorite of ours. Creamy, smooth and piquant.
Champagne is a wonderful wine for cheeses. The carbonation and acidity balance the richness of the cheese. It worked with the full range of cheeses and olives, our prelude to the main oyster course.
We like a classic mignonette sauce for our oysters. Here’s our quick recipe for mignonette sauce:
- 1/2 cup of vinegar, today I used 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
- 2 Tbs chopped shallots
- 1 Tbs freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp sugar (to your taste)
The champagne was a very beautiful rich lemon yellow in color, and the bubbles were beautiful.
- On the nose: sweet marzipan, a little yeast but really nice.
- In the mouth: dry crisp, very lively. Just a touch of sweetness in the background. The sweetness in the aroma is not reflected in the flavor, just that lively mouthfeel.
Champagne is a natural pairing for oysters, and the Chartogne-Taillet did not disappoint! The lively effervescence and crisp acidity of the wine was a nice counterpoint to the briny flavor of the oysters.
Next year, we’ll put October 26 on our calendar and organize a party!