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Most people know that sparkling wine (erm "champagne") goes well with almost every dish. In fact, one of the classic rules of thumb is that champagne should be used as a go-to when you aren't sure what to pair your food with.
However, there's a lot of things that people don't tell you about the "champagne" you've been drinking.
Most importantly, the champagne you are thinking of is not always the real deal. The only real champagne is the bubbly wine made from grapes from the champagne region of France. All other "champagne" is actually just a genre of wine known as sparkling wine.
Just like red wines have different categories, sparkling wines, too, have their own categories. This sparkling wine and food pairing guide will teach you the best sparkling wine pairings for your dishes.
Brut Sparkling Wine and Clams, Oysters, and Shellfish Dishes
Brut is a form of sparkling wine and/or champagne that is known for being dry. To a point, this bubbly tends to almost taste earthy or even salty depending on what you pair with it.
That's why so many people suggest Brut champagne when it comes to pairing foods known for their salinity. This is also the reason why people pair Brut with caviar.
Our official take on this sparkling wine and food pairing guide agrees with this classic advice since sparkling wine that's too sweet will often end up ruining the flavor of seafood.
Other pairings for shellfish and seafood include:
- Brut Naturale sparkling wine
- Extra Brut sparkling wine
- Extra Dry sparkline wine
Blanc de Noirs and Fried Food
Yes, it's possible to pair fried food with sparkling wines. Most people will want to burn you at the stake for this, but it's possible as long as you choose a sparkling wine that's rich enough to cut through the grease of your fried items.
Blanc de Noirs are white sparkling wines made with dark grapes, like the varietal used to make Pinot Noir. They have the richness and earthiness of a red wine with the crispness of a white wine. Oh, and they tend to be fairly affordable.
There are a number of sparkling wine and food pairing guide charts that will suggest this pairing. However, don't be shocked if people gawk at you while you enjoy it.
Other pairings for fried food include:
- Rosé sparkling wine
- Extra Dry sparkling wine
Franciacorta and Creamy Ravioli
Many sparkling wine and food pairing guides will tell you that champagnes and Italian food work beautifully together, and they really do. There's really no sparkling wine that doesn't go well with the rich tomato sauces and creamy sauces of Italian fare.
That being said, there's a lot of little nuances that can help you bring out the most of your flavors. Franciacorta, an Italian sparkling wine, is heady and has the perfect acidity for creamy pasta dishes like ravioli, creamy lasagna, and white pizza.
Meanwhile, a dry or Brut sparkling wine will work better with the richness of tomato sauce. So, pizza with lots of sauce may work better.
Other pairings for Italian fare include:
- Extra Brut (for everything)
- Dry (for red sauces)
- Brut (for cheese-heavy goods)
Extra Brut Champagne and Cheese Platters
Because of the dry flavor and high acidity of Extra Brut champagne, this sparkling wine makes for a perfect pairing for almost every cheese out there. In fact, most sparkling wine and food pairing guides will tell you that Bruts of all sort are best.
Prosecco also works well with cheese. However, it's a bit sweeter than the norm. So, we'd suggest this as a dessert cheese platter drink.
Other pairings for cheese include:
- Blanc de Noirs
- Extra Dry
- Brut Naturale
- Sweet Champagne (for dessert cheese platters or cheese/fruit platters)
Blanc and Roasted Chicken or Steak
Champagne Blanc, also known as Blanc de Blanc, and other white sparkling wines tend to bring out the juiciness and salinity of meats. That's why both chicken and steak tend to work well with Champagne Blanc.
Blanc sparkling wines tend to allow the crispness to sink in while you enjoy your meat, and thus act as a palate cleanser of sorts. Brut wines, too, have very similar traits, which make them pretty good choices for people who really want more flavor in their meat.
Other good options include:
- Rosé sparkling wines
Sweet Champagnes and Desserts
Sweets for the sweet, as they say — and every sparkling wine and food pairing guide you'll read will agree. Sweet champagnes tend to work best with sweet foods, especially if they are fresh fruits, sorbets, or chocolates.
If you have a dessert platter you want to check out, a sweet champagne is a good choice. However, because sweet sparkling wines do pack a powerful punch of sugar, they often are hard to pair with other foods.
Other good choices include:
- Blanc de Noirs