“Wine gives one ideas, whereas Champagne gives one strategies.”
This quote from novelist Roman Payne could have been the slogan for our recent Restaurant Mosaic’s Team Building Session. There are already so many great quotes in the world about this special beverage that is Champagne, but I discovered my own new favourite during our session when my colleague asked – “Are you ready for the Champagne to be poured?”
“Yes!” – my answer will always be yes to this.
During the Team Building week, as a new team together for the first time, we had the privilege to each night indulge in a dish created by Chef Chantel to experience her Botanical Cuisine for ourselves. The challenge was put to us to pair a wine of our choice with each of her dishes presented which we discussed in detail through a deconstructed pairing process. Believe me when I say that this was an eye-opening experience of how the smallest leaf or flower on the plate affects the wine. From oyster leaves, pea tendrils, fava beans to fennel flowers. Truly a wine geek and foodie heaven!
The dishes varied from Oysters and Pearls to Smoked Duck and Cherries (Cherry Blossom) to Senagalise Sole with Citrus Velouté (Fishkraal); to name a few. The taste profile of the dishes varied from one to the next just as much as our wine choices varied in styles and cultivars. There was only one constant – Champagne!
“Only the unimaginative can fail to find a reason for drinking Champagne”
With each dish we found that Champagne is a perfectly matched partner. Caution though as it is not that simple, as Champagne varies in styles and sweetness. It is important to select the right one, with the right maturity level, to compliment the dish. For example, we paired the Oysters and Pearls with a 100% Chardonnay Champagne (Blanc de Blancs) which would not have paired well at all with the Cherry Blossom dish. This dish instead was asking for a Champagne dominant in Pinot Noir to compliment the red fruit flavours in both the dish and the wine.
Through this exercise we were reminded of Champagne’s versatility when it comes to food and wine pairing. “Only the unimaginative can fail to find a reason for drinking Champagne” as the Irish poet Oscar Wilde once said. Even if you do not use it as a partner to food, there are many other good reasons, or excuses, to drink Champagne; especially if you listen to the legends of the ages where Champagne was entrusted with aiding digestion, having anti-inflammatory properties, and even known to fight anxiety and depression.
Looking at our wine cellar selection at Restaurant Mosaic, you will find many treasured Champagnes, varying in styles, sweetness, and maturity. It truly is irreplaceable. Our strategy for the future might just be to reach for that special bottle of Vintage Champagne as the partner to the Château des Tesnières experience – coming together as “a string of pearls” as our Cellar Master, Cobus du Plessis, described it.
-René, Restaurant Mosaic Sommelier