By James Atkinson

The rise of Champagne matching with food continues to challenge the conventions of traditional wine dinners, which no longer have to be about moving through heavier styles of wine from white to red.

During the recent Spring Racing Carnival, chef Mark Best of Sydney’s Marque restaurant designed a French menu of dishes matched to the G.H. Mumm Champagne range, which were served to guests in the La Maison G.H. Mumm marquee at Flemington.

“I think we’re moving away from what would be considered the classical wine progression,” Best told TheShout. 

“I think that’s pretty much been dictated to by the type of food we’re eating now. Food is lighter, more seafood based, with higher acidity, so the classical pairing doesn’t really work.” 

GH Mumm chef de cave Didier Mariotti agreed, telling TheShout that food pairing is becoming more and more important for Champagne, which was originally considered a dessert wine and then an aperitif. 

“Champagnes vary in style, and some have more complexity and are actually enhanced by matching them with food as it adds another dimension and actually enriches the wine,” he said.

“For example, our G.H. Mumm Blanc de Blancs is enhanced by a match with oily fish like trout or salmon, or with oysters with a citrus dressing.” 

“Our prestige cuvee, the G.H Mumm Cuvee R. Lalou is a very complex wine with many elements that can be revealed when matched to the right foods. I think it is at its best when it is matched with roasted white meat like chicken, or with mushrooms or truffle,” said Mariotti.

Best said he has also moved past the idea that wine dinners must always progress in order through white to red.

“If I think that the food should go in a certain order, the red wine could come in mid-course and then I can go back to a light and aromatic white,” he said.

“It’s the pairing itself between the food and wine that matters, and it’s not affected by the matching that went before or the matching that goes after.”

Caption L-R: Mark Best with Mumm director-general Michel Letter

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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