Champagne is one of life's luxuries and it's often the tipple of choice during party season.
However, while many of us save it for a toast or as a pre-meal sharpener, champagne is also one of the perfect drinks to pair with food.
Want to make the most of drinking fizz this Christmas? David Hesketh, a master of wine and managing director of Laurent-Perrier, shares six top tips on matching bubbly with your meal.
1. The most important rule to remember when pairing any food and wine is whatever a person thinks is a good match, it is! Given the very subjective nature of food pairing, my view is if it works for you then that's fine.
2. If serving champagne as an accompaniment to your Christmas turkey, I would select one with body and possibly some maturity too. Ideally, vintage champagne would be best as they generally embody both these qualities. As it is a special occasion I would recommend a 1996 vintage, although a 2002 or the latest Laurent-Perrier Vintage 2004 would also be good choices.
3. A 'zero dosage' or 'brut nature' champagne works very well with seafood because of its minerality. In this type of champagne, no extra sugar is added giving it a very dry taste. Try pairing with seared scallops, langoustine and oysters.
4. Rosé champagnes are made using the Pinot Noir grape. At Laurent-Perrier we use the saignée method, which introduces tannin from the grape skins, providing another structural element in the champagne. I find it works particularly well with veal and also, because of the firm acidity, tends to work well with duck, ideal if you are having an alternative to turkey.
5. People often try to pair a rosé champagne with a dessert, but I would resist the temptation to do this and turn to a Demi-Sec champagne, which are sweeter wines. Many great chefs have matched the lightly honeyed notes and fruit profile of our Demi-Sec with peach and apricot desserts – one that comes to mind is almond pannacotta and apricot crumble.
6. The best time to drink champagne, in my opinion, is on Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning prior to lunch – just make sure you have had a good breakfast first!