Food & Sparkling Wine Pairings
Champagne is one of the most versatile wines to pair. It works well with lots of different foods. Some champagne styles may go better than others with certain foods. Sometimes you may find an article that specifically says do not pair it with a specific food, then find another that raves about the same pairing. Part of the confusion has to do with the champagne type – rose, vintage, brut, blanc de blancs, prestige cuvee, demi sec, etc. Bottom line, you can most likely find a style of champagne to pair with any food.
Here are some suggested pairings and some hints about what may work best with specific styles. These are just a few possibilities. Don’t be afraid to experiment:
Snacks and Finger Food
- Potato chips
- Almonds (also other nuts, but almonds are a favorite.)
- In general, many salty snacks work well
- Corndog with Dijon mustard – balance the weight of the mustard with the weight of the champagne.
- Fish tacos (be sure they are not overly saturated with a citrus sauce – there should be balance with the champagne)
Appetizers / Hors-d-oeuvres
A good light to medium bodied non vintage brut aperitif style works with most appetizers. See the comments for additional suggestions. Blanc de blancs also works well with most.
- Caviar – especially good with Blanc de Blancs.
- Oysters – especially good with Blanc de Blancs.
- Stuffed mushrooms
- Smoked salmon
- Caramalized scallops – try them with a toasty, smoky older vintage.
Breakfast / Brunch
- Brunch dishes in general. Brunch is meant for champagne!
- Eggs are perfect (scrambled, quiche, poached, fried, omelets, however you like them). They can easily be accompanied by ham or crisp bacon.
Soups / Salads
- Crab salad (and dips)
- Lobster salad
- Caesar salad
Main Courses & Sides
- Asparagus (young with very small pencil thick stems)
- Light vegetable dishes – Most go best with young non vintage brut
- Macaroni and Cheese (homemade – see ‘cheeses’ for recommendations)
- Chicken – baked, fried, grilled or roasted
- Oysters Rockefeller – great with a good vintage brut champagne
- Beef –stick to less fatty cuts (like tenderloin) served rare – Serve with full bodied brut rose’ champagne. Avoid light and medium body styles.
- Lamb – same as beef, serve rare with full bodied brut rose’ champagne. Avoid light and medium body styles.
- Barbeque – Rose’ champagne… the acidity of the champagne melds with the tanginess of the sauce.
- Bouillabaisse – Rose’ champagne
- Chinese food – Non vintage brut for mild seafood based dishes. For somewhat spicier dishes try an extra dry or a sec.
- Fresh young goat cheese – Blanc de blancs or a light bodied non-vintage brut.
- Parmesan – Especially great with Blanc de blancs, but other styles work, too.
- Other hard cheeses like gouda, gruyère or cheddar.
Dessert / After Dinner
- Fruity desserts, tarts – Demi sec (try actually decanting to subdue the bubbles and round it out for a more dessert wine experience).
- Fresh Fruit: Cherries, raspberries and strawberries are especially nice with rose’.
- Chocolate (bittersweet/dark, not sticky/gooey) – Extra dry, dry or demi sec.
- Salty desserts that have very little sweetness like salted caramel ice cream – try an older vintage champagne that is developing some nutty, caramel characteristics.
The heavier the sauce, the more full bodied the champagne should be. Butter and butter sauces go well with most champagne. Sweet dishes don’t pair well with dry (brut) champagne. Matching the style of the champagne to the dish works well.