It’s Official: French Fries Pair Best with Champagne

Moët & Chandon calls the salty, crunchy snack one of the best things to eat with bubbly, and our wine editor agrees.

Mike Pomranz | April 19, 2018

Everyone likes Champagne—if only because it’s the quintessential, upmarket celebratory drink. But for that exact reason, some people can be unsure when to drink Champagne. Weddings, graduations and holidays are obvious choices. And if you’re Biggie Smalls, when you’re thirsty also qualifies. But is ordering Champagne during an otherwise ordinary meal posh or just pretentious?

For bigtime Champagne producers like Moët & Chandon, this question is about more than just image: moving more Champagne boosts their bottom line. So clearly, it behooves the brand to remind drinkers that you don’t need to wait until your golden anniversary to pop a bottle of Brut. Along those lines, Marie-Christine Osselin, Moët & Chandon’s wine quality and communication manager, recently told The Drinks Business that one of the best possible pairings for bubbly is one of the most common sides on the planet: French fries.

According to Osselin, Champagne’s acidity and bubbles make for an excellent complement to fries saltiness and crunch. In fact, regardless of whether the cuisine is low-brow or high-brow, Osselin insisted that simplicity is the key. “Champagne is a wine that asks for simple ingredients, no more than three,” she was quoted as saying.

Of course, it’s easy to be skeptical: If you were trying to move $50 bottles of wine, you’d probably say they pair well with every food under the sun. But Food & Wine wine editor/guru Ray Isle actually completely agrees with Osselin’s assertion. “I’ve been saying this for years, as have many, many sommeliers,” he explained.

“Basically, salt and fat plus high acid and bubbles equals a great combo,” Isle continued, giving Champagne and French fries the mathematical treatment. “Fries, potato chips—hell—fried pork rinds would work too. But I don’t think you’re going to get the folks at Moët to suggest pairing their champagne with fried pork rinds—that’s too down-home for them, for sure.”

Moët won’t say it, but apparently we will. Grab your Champagne and pork rinds! Is it college football season yet?!

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Chilled red wines and warmer white wines have more flavour

Wine is a complicated beast, but best rules to follow are: chill your reds lightly and let your whites warm a little.
Wine is a complicated beast, but best rules to follow are: chill your reds lightly and let your whites warm a little.

Thomas Heaton | January 25 2018

Kiwis are drinking their red wines too warm and our whites too cold, according to expert sommeliers.

Refrigeration leaves white too cold, and chances are red is too warm in the current summer weather.

Wellington wine bar Noblerot served its wines at a range of temperatures according to the varietal; the prime range for red wine was between 18 and 22 degrees.

Noblerot Chef Joshua Dodd with co-owner and sommelier Maciej Zimny

Co-owner and sommelier Maciej Zimny said lighter, fruitier reds, such as pinot noir, lent themselves to being chilled to the bottom of that range.

During warmer summer weather, Zimny recommended chilling red wine from up to 10 minutes before serving, which would reduce the temperature by between three and five degrees.

“When you taste the wine, at a lower temperature it seems complete,” he said.

“Even when it’s slightly colder that it should be it will provide much more pleasure.”

That’s because of the alcoholic smell was exaggerated when it was warm, which was unappetising, according sommelier at Auckland’s French Cafe, Stephanie Guth.

She said. however, the sight of a chilled red wine was odd for customers.

“You want to do it justice but it’s such a weird thing for people to see, red wine in an ice bucket, even though you know it might benefit from it,” Guth said.

Twenty minutes in an ice-bucket before opening and drinking might help to boost the flavour in a pinot noir.

“The more complex the wine you have, the warmer it should be served,” Zimny said, referring to rich red wines such as merlot or Bordeaux varietals.

Conversely white wine should be served chilled, however complex oaky chardonnays should be served slightly warmer than other whites.

So chardonnay’s flavours lent better to slightly warmer temperatures than sauvignon blanc, about 14 degrees as opposed to 10 degrees, because it was important to make sure oak flavours were prominent.

Pinot noir and chardonnay hailed from the Burgundy region of France, and both were classically stored in the same cellar under the same conditions. He said wines have either been served too warm or too cold since the invention of refrigerators.

Cellar temperature was perceived as something quite different to what was initially intended, room temperature, Guth said.

Leaving white wine to warm up slightly released flavours hidden by colder temperatures.

“It doesn’t harm the wine but you tend to get a little more out of the aromas.”

The only reason one should drink a bottle straight out of the fridge was “if you don’t want to taste your wine”, she said.

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Cellar Club BBQ – 28 January 2018

As ever we start our year with the BBQ, Johnsonville, on 28 January.
I will send more information to members in mid-January. As always we give special thanks to Derek Thompson for making his excellent facilities available.

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The year in retrospec

Our year

It is usual at this time to review our year. As ever we began with our summer BBQ at the end of January. The usual excellent occasion and thanks to Derek for making his premises available. It is an excellent facility. Our first tasting was the Rosė tasting presented by Will Brunel-Morven from Maison Vauron. Rosės are becoming increasingly popular, particularly as a summer wine.March was the time for Ata Rangi and was followed in April by our Quiz Night. An enjoyable and fun occasion. As usual, May was AGM time, June highlighted Giesen’s Wines and July was dinner at Bistro 52. August had us enjoying Seifried’s offerings and then in September the interesting and unique Aged Wines tasting. October was Stonecroft and last month was the festive tasting of Spanish wines. A great programme which will be nicely rounded off by our December Dinner.

Spanish tasting

It is interesting to note that EuroVintage had great orders from the Spanish tasting, and were blown away by the response. Well done everyone.

Cheers
Robin Semmens, Editor

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Wine for Xmas Dinner

AWARDS

TROPHY: “Champion Sparkling Wine”, Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2017, NZ
GOLD: Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2017, NZ

WINE ANALYSIS

Variety: 50% Pinot Noir / 50% Chardonnay
Vineyard: Seifried Cornfield and Brightwater Vineyards
Sugar at Harvest: 19.4°Brix
Date of Harvest: Early March 2011
Disgorgement Date: September 2016
T.A of Wine: 5.8g/L
Residual Sugar: 1g/L (Brut)
Alc.: 12.5% vol.
Suitable for Vegetarians: Yes

WINEMAKERS NOTE

In 1971 my father Hermann Seifried arrived in New Zealand with a dream of making great wines. He and my mother Agnes pioneered modern winemaking in the Nelson region, planting the first vines and in 1976 producing their first wines. Now, 40 years later we celebrate their vision and the arrival of the next generation, our children, who are growing up in the vineyard and winery. We hope that they too will share the passion for crafting fine wines.

Our Aotea Méthode Traditionnelle is a very special wine. Two parcels of fruit were hand picked at ideal ripeness for this classical Méthode Traditionnelle Cuvée. The Pinot Noir is from our Brightwater Vineyard while the Chardonnay comes from our Cornfield Vineyard. The blend is 50/50 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

The grapes were hand harvested during the cool early hours of the day and brought to the winery quickly for processing. The free-run juice from the press was cold settled overnight before being racked, warmed and inoculated. A smooth ferment progressed to dryness, followed by malolactic fermentation. The young wine was then prepared for bottle fermentation and aged on lees for an extended period. In 2016 the wine was finished and released to celebrate our 40th vintage at Seifried’s.
Chris Seifried.

THE VINEYARD

The Cornfield Vineyard is situated on a wide river flat. The soil is gravelly sandy loam, which marks the sites of Maori kumara beds (sweet potato) prior to European settlement in the early 1800’s. The Maori transferred and spread fine gravel and sand over the land to provide suitable soils for their kumara pla

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Recipies from Nov spanish tasting

Spanish Prawns

1kg bag of prawn tails
3 tbsp crushed garlic
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 cup chopped parsley

Spice Mix

3 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp smoked garlic salt
½ tsp sugar

Cook the garlic in the oil, add the prawns and cook until just pink. Toss in the spice mix and most of the parsley. Season, and sprinkle with the rest of the parsley.

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Christmas Dinner – Cashmere Lounge, Khandallah – December 2017

You have to head to the suburbs to try one of Wellingtons best new restaurant/wine bars. Set in an 85 year old brick building, Cashmere Lounge has done a wonderful job of capturing the character and enhancing the aesthetics of the original structure.

A delicious menu and excellent service provide a wonderful and relaxed dining experience. The menu focuses on locally sourced produce with European and Kiwi flavours, expertly crafted by Head Chef, Vincent Good. We are working on the final details of an exciting menu and dining experience for members. Put 13 December into your scheduler now.

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2017 Bragato Wine Awards – a single vineyard wine competition

A 13 strong judging team is gearing up to review over 500 wines entered in this year’s Bragato Wine Awards. The twist on this year’s Awards is that all wines entered must be single vineyard wines, a first in the competition’s 23 year history.

“We’ve worked hard in past few years to enable the Bragato Wine Awards to evolve into a single vineyard show”, says Ben Glover, Chair of Judges and Owner/Winemaker of Glover Family Vineyards. “The Bragato Awards are focused on recognising that exceptional grape growing is the foundation of making wines that express a true quality of place.”

“By making the shift to a single vineyard show we’re allowing our industry to express the Turangawaewae of their distinctive sites. This change highlights the Bragato Awards as being truly unique among New Zealand wine shows.”

Australian judge David Stevens-Castro will add an international perspective to the 2017 judging team. Mr Stevens-Castro is currently a stage two student in the Institute of Masters of Wine programme, the Wine & Beverage Manager at IHG’s Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise, and owner of PAIRED Media.

Judging of the 2017 Bragato Wine Awards will take place over 16 and 17 August at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland. Trophy winning wines will be revealed at the New Zealand Winegrowers National Romeo Bragato Conference in Marlborough, held from 30 to 31 August. Competition results can be viewed from 1 September on www.bragato.org.nz.

Additional information:

  • The Bragato Wine Awards are held each year as part of the New Zealand Winegrower’s National Romeo Bragato Conference.
  • The Awards recognise that exceptional grape growing is the foundation of making wines that express true quality of place.
  • For more information visit www.bragato.org.nz

Judging Team:
Chair of Judges – Ben Glover
Judges – Rod Easthope, Francis Hutt, Jeremy MacKenzie, James Millton, Helen Morrison, Simon Nunns, Barry Riwai, Liz Wheadon
International Judge – David Stevens-Castro (Australia)
Associate Judges – Hannah Burns, Jordon Hogg, Lauren Swift

For further information please contact:

Ben Glover
Chair of Judges
Bragato Wine Awards
029 520 8288
ben@zephyrwine.com

Or

Angela Willis
Manager – Global Events
New Zealand Winegrowers
021 552 071
angela@nzwine.com

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A tour of Italy – Part 2

Glengarry’s Sunday ramblings of all things vinous, grain and glorious. A tour of Italy – Part 2 comes from The Sunday Sediment Issue 6.

Sicilia

The largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily boasts the greatest number of wineries of any Italian region. Leading light on the island is the fortified DOC wine, Marsala; so brilliant for cooking and superb when served with a hard cheese like Pecorino. While there are some impressive DOC wines here, there is also great value being offered by top quality producers making very good IGT wines from native varieties.

The South

Dino Illuminati

Generally, the south of Italy is all about value and generous, forward wine styles. Abruzzo is located on the coast north and east of Rome, the region home to Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Historically significant as the place the vine first arrived in Italy from Greece, Apulia (or Puglia) is located in the middle of the heel of Italy’s boot. Known as a large volume producer, there are now top-rated DOCG, an impressive 25 DOC zones and a chariot-full of great Italian foods.

 

Italian Sparkling

Italian SparklingProduced largely in the north, Prosecco is the current high-flier of Italy’s respected sparkling wine industry. In 2009 it was awarded DOCG status, that important ‘G’ on the end adding a rock-solid guarantee to the quality of the wine. Franciacorta is both a highly-rated DOCG area and a sparkling wine with a huge reputation, produced a la champagne, but with even more stringent aging requirements than its French cousins.

Grappa

The Italians have been perfecting their heady spirit known as Grappa since the Middle Ages. A unique concoction produced from grape pomace (the skins, pulp, seeds and stems left over after the juice has been extracted for winemaking), Grappa began life as a coarse, home-made drink enjoyed by farmers after a hard day’s work. From these humble beginnings it has evolved into a highly refined spirit. By EU law, Grappa must be produced in Italy, without any added water, from fermented and distilled pomace. To produce it, the pomace is heated in a bain-marie (also known as a water bath or double boiler) to create steam, which is forced through a distillation column. The resulting colourless, filtered distillation can be enjoyed immediately, but the finest Grappas are aged in glass or wood, which changes the colour and adds complexity. Flavours, too, can vary considerably depending on the origin of the grape pomace, the blending and the aging process. Great post-prandial, or added to espresso.

Read more in the Glengarry Wineletter – #232 August 2017.

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Science says wine and cheese make you fit and smart

If you needed another excuse to have some cheese with your wine tonight, we are hooking you up!

Because it turns out that cheese may not be so bad for you after all…

A recent study by the Global Dairy Platform, Dairy Research Institute and Dairy Australia has found that consuming cheese doesn’t increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

“There’s quite as widespread but mistaken belief among the public that dairy products in general can be bad for you, but that’s a misconception,” Ian Givens, a nutrition professor at Reading University told The Guardian. “While it is a widely held belief, our research shows that that’s wrong.”

And red wine, in moderation, can help your heart and your brain, according to a recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.

The study showed that when wine residue passed through the gut it has the ability to prevent cells from dying, and therefore delay potential neurodegenerative diseases.

Good to know!

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July is Mid-Winter Dinner Month!

The Committee was looking to arrange the always-popular Cuba Street Bistro once again. But as the saying goes, the best laid plans of best-laid men oft gang awry. The building’s owner decided the chosen date would be a good time to undertake earthquake strengthening so the evening had to be scrapped.

However do not despair! Bistro 52 has been selected as the replacement. This is located in Lower Cuba Street and the Club has been there previously – and it very good it was too. The venue has been booked for Wednesday 19 July, with a 6.00pm start for a 6.30pm ordering of your meal. You will be welcomed with a glass of bubbles! Attached to this Newsletter is a Payment Advice for June 2017 (for both the dinner and your subscriptions). Price for the dinner is $52 per person including corkage – it’s BYO of course.

Note the date – this is a week later than the Club’s usual meeting evening. It’s the first week of the students’ new semester and they are still finalising the menu, but they have never let us down before!

This looks even now as though it will be a definite winner!

Payment Advice for June 2017

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