I need to preface this tale of a (somewhat-failed) experiment by telling you (aside from the normal disclosure that I received all of the products as samples for possible review) that I have nothing against massive on-line tasting events like the recent #ChampagneDay (or its also recent big-brother #CabernetDay).
I’ve got a long history (since Day One, actually) with TasteLive.com, who kind of started the whole kumbaya-peace-love-and-Marsha-Brady-let’s-all-taste-together-on-line thang in the first place, after all. And I love the communal aspect, and the conviviality, that are at the heart of those tasting events.
It’s just that it doesn’t feel as though Champagne or Cabernet Sauvignon need their own tasting days. I mean, from a brand-recognition standpoint, these wines are like Pepsi or the Chicago Bulls. It’s not like no one’s ever heard of them, or never drinks the stuff, or that they have pricing issues on the high end.
So I’m kind of waiting for the underdog wine tasting day on twitter, myself (#BonardaDay, anyone?) before I get too excited about these grape-themed events.
But the twitter peeps were a persistent bunch, asking me (many times) about participating in #ChampagneDay last week, so eventually I caved into the pressure… of wanting Champagne to pair with take-out sushi for dinner that night (which is a f*cking EPIC food-and-wine pairing, by the way). Because I am a slave to the evil twin drives of surprise and novelty, and because I know my place in the Roberts household (lower on the totem pole than my daughter, but slightly higher than my dog… I think), I decided to to pop open the bubbly and pair it with… samples of cookies specifically designed (or, at least, specifically marketed!) to pair with Sparkling wine.
The results? Not-so-Epic…
This had a lot more to do with the cookies than the Champagne – a fine sample of Perrot Batteux et Filles Helixe Blanc de Blancs provided by friends-of-the-Dude FatCork.com; more on that in a few minutes.
The cookies (branded “Cookies And Corks” from Cookie Zen) come in Red, White and Sparkling versions, with flavors like Espresso Chocolate Peanut Butter, White Cheddar Rosemary, and Apricot Sage. For reasons that I sincerely hope are obvious to you by now (otherwise you may want to come back to this article after you’ve sobered up), we went with the Sparkling cookie versions: Parmesan Thyme, Zesty Lemon, and Sea Salt Chocolate Oatmeal (the cookies will set you back about $24 for 3 boxes of 15 cookies).
In summary: we weren’t thrilled by the pairing.
The Parmesan Thyme cookie had bold flavors that kind of zonked the Champagne on its poor, elegant and beady little head, but they also had a chalky mouthfeel reminiscent of a stale bread-roll. It just didn’t work. The Sea Salt Chocolate Oatmeal cookie was a bit more subdued, but that chocolate did not play at all well in the palate sandbox (the bully!) with the zesty, fun aspects of the Champagne.
A more successful pairing was the Zesty Lemon cookie, which also had some savory sea salt action sprinkled on top [Editor’s note: consonance quotient for the week fulfilled with that sentence.]. The lemon flavors were strong with The Force, though a tad on the artificial side, but they complimented the citric lift of the Champagne nicely – and throwing in salt will pretty much never fail you with high-acid wines like good sparklers.
All in all, not a great end to the meal, and not up to the same quality as our chosen #ChampagneDay bubbly, which was well-worth the $45 a bottle will set you back. My advice: stick to the sushi for bubbly pairing, though if you have a sweet tooth (and a penchant for baked goods), you may want to give the cookies a whirl:
Perrot Batteux et Filles Helixe Blanc de Blancs (Champagne)
Another family-run winner of a selection from Fat Cork, this is a 100% Champagne sparkler from a (very) chalky area of the southern Cote des Blancs (hence the name “helixe,” and the fossil pictured on the label – the area’s chalk contains the remains of the sea life that once swam over the area millions of years ago).
If you like lemons, this is your wine. Other citrus aromas and yellow apples make an appearance (as do white flowers), but lemon dominates and after several minutes in the glass combines with a yeasty quality that might remind you of fresh-baked lemon muffins. Certainly the wine is well-made, and seriously-crafted, but otherwise there’s nothing serious about this wine – it’s all bubbly, expressive, elegant fun.
And you won’t need any extra incentive to drain a bottle of this delicious sparkler (not even a plate of cookies).
28 thoughts on “#ChampagneDay And… Cookies?? (A Tale Of One Not-So-Epic Pairing)”
Joe, you actually drank an underdog but didn't make that fact prominent. The Perrot Batteux is Grower's Champagne, and less than 4% of the Champagne imported into the US is Growers, about 629,000 bottles. I think more sherry is imported into the US than Growers. Also consider that in the US, only about 1 out of 10 bottles of sparkling wine is Champagne. So Growers is a tiny niche wine in the US, and deserving of recognition.
Richard – agreed! Good point, I could have emphasized that more. But having said that, the linked article on my previous tasting of Fat Cork samples talks a bit about the grower angle (Fat Cork *only* does grower stuff, which makes them pretty special IMHO). Cheers!
Whoops! Moron alert: I forgot to provide the friggin' link to the previous FC / Grower Champagne mention:
Alright – back about yer business! :)
How about Gruner Veltliner day? :)
Sally, really, don’t push it, okay? :) Actually, we kind of had a GV night last night as part of #WineChat with Austrian Wine USA. But would be pretty cool to see a full #day ush behind GV. Cheers!
Ha ha – count me in :)
:) Yeah, we should keep a list of oddball grape days we wanna see: #RibollaGiallaDay, anyone?
#RibollaGiallaDay <- Ha, that is hilarious!
On a serious note, we are thrilled that you & Mrs. Dudette enjoyed the Perrot-Batteaux BdB. Our goal with Fat Cork, is to provide a tool that turns every day occasions into special ones. Be it with your partner, family, friends, or just yourself!
And, we are also certain that sushi would have been a much better companion. But, part of why we love the Dude is because you always push the limit. In fairness to the cookies, they probably would have been much better with a sweeter style of sparkling wine, like a Prosecco or a Cali sparkler. The Perrot-Batteaux Champagne is all about the serious chalk in the region of the Cote des Blancs, and as Richard mentions above, it is as grower as grower Champagne gets. Dry, mineral driven, fresh, etc.
My wife and I were laughing after reading your post as we thought about telling the vigneron about your choice of food with her wine. I can't even imagine the look on her face! Prosciutto, olives, oysters, popcorn, sushi, apples, triple cream cheese, bring them on… but cookies, ha!
Bottom line: listen to the wife : )
@fatcork – HA! Please tell her and take a photo. She might actually puke if she knew I covered her wine, since I've also made reference to things like squirrel poop and god known what else on these virtual pages…
Totally agree about the cookies not getting quite the fair shake without a sweeter style of sparkler to go with them, but then again, *somebody* out there would have gotten around to making this pairing mistake eventually! :)
I am kind of crying and laughing as I think about emailing this post to the vigneron and then visualizing her reaction as she tries to translate and make sense of this food pairing idea! Keep up the fun posts, Dude, we love them!
@fatcork – Thanks!=C2=A0 Just get it on vid if you do it… ;-)
I disagree that Champagne does not need its own day! You mentioned: “I mean, from a brand-recognition standpoint, these wines are like Pepsi or the Chicago Bulls. It’s not like no one’s ever heard of them, or never drinks the stuff, or that they have pricing issues on the high end.” While the name recognition is high for Champagne there does exists the problem that many consumers and producers have co-op’ed the name and applied it to the sparkling wine category. Cant tell you how many people aked my if it was okay to bring a domestic Champagne for the event I was hosting! This has the danger of impacting the Champagne region in a negative way as it will further confuse the consumer, so when Champagne is mentioned they will ask you what you mean. The goal of #ChampagneDay was to help educate the consumer as to the uniqueness of the sparkling wine from the Champagne region, expose people to smaller producers “farmerfizz” that exist, highlight the many different styles of Champagne that are produced (of which most consumers are not aware) , and finally to help break the misconception that Champagne is only for celebrations and for aperitifs, after all in IMHO there is no better wine suited to accompany a meal from start to finish.
FYI- I am ALL in on a #RibollaGiallaDay !!!!
Christian – I appreciate your point but I've long argued against it; if Champagne wants to make inroads in addressing that perception, they need to move away from the territorial pissing contest that they used in the media a couple of years ago, and instead take this sort of stance: "it's great that everybody loves sparkling wine, so come on and check out where it got invented!" To their credit they have done just that in the last 12-18 months or so. Cheers!
If I follow your line of argument you would also tell Nike to stop litigating the infringement of their name by people who place it on knock off products? Tell The Napa Valley Vintners not to try so hard to protect the Napa name, after all imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? Not sure you have convinced me with your argument.
Christian – No, totally different. Products that *label* themselves as Champagne without being from Champagne would be the equivalent of the Nike example, I think, and those should be fought legally. What I'm talking about it the battle against referring to sparkling wine as Champagne, just as we call sutures Band-aids generically.=C2=A0 You cannot win that fight, so you might as well capitalize on the rampant brand recognition in a *positive* way there.
So I think we both just proved that #ChampagneDay was warranted after all, since their is much discussion still to be had and an opportunity for more education.
Christian – I never said #ChampagneDay was not warranted, so I guess I agree with you :). I said that I wasn't as excited about it as I would be about a day that highlighted a lesser-known region or grape. I think you should bear in mind that I do support the campaign of Sherry, Port and Champagne to educate (NOT to scare or admonish! :) consumers about those wines being *more than brand-name-type styles* and actually originating from a particular place in the world, and also support them legally pursuing producers who use those terms on the label but haven't been 'grandfathered' into the recent laws against that usage (I was in the 2nd ever class of Wine Location Specialists certification, my friend, and ran ad space for the WLS program right here on this site about a year ago).
Cool! So when are we going to get that #RibollaGiallaDay on the books?
Also FYI did you know that SonomaWilliam is your doppelgänger, it is scary how much you guys look alike.
:) No, I did not know that! Pics..?
Oh, and THANK YOU for adding a much-needed RUSH reference today! :)
BTW I am no longer calling myself a blogger but will co-op your blog name and shall hence forth be know as a 1wineduder! After all "need to move away from the territorial pissing contest" about a right to protect your name and say "it's great that everybody loves using the 1winedude name, so come on and check out where it got invented!" :)
Christian – see my previous response: not talking about copyright infringement, talking about the generic use of a term. Personally, if the general public referred to wine bloggers as 1WineDuders, I'd be pretty f*cking thrilled because it would mean I hit the big time in a BIG way :).
did you support #GrenacheDay? ;)
There was a #GrenacheDay ? I guess I was too busy with my #WorkingTheEquivalentOfThreeJobsAndChasingAfterMyToddlerDay ? ;-)
Can I still your # phrase and change it slightly to: #WorkingTheEquivalentOfThreeJobsAndChasingAfterTwoLittleDoggiesInHeelsAndPlanningAWeddingAllWhileTryingToEnjoyAGlassOfVinoDay
@QuitWINEing – I think you just trumped my hashtag skills big-time! :)
Next time, try Blanc de Blancs with white cheddar cheese puffs…uh-mazing!
@QuitWINEing – have to take your word for it, I hate cheddar cheese puffs (but bubbly + popcorn is pretty awesome!).
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