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Champagne and Vegetable Terrine

Although "Champagne" is often used as generic name for sparkling wines, most countries respect the French region and avoid using the word on their labels. Their sparkling wines are called by other names, such as Spumante in Italy, Sekt in Germany, vin mousseux in other regions of France-or simply sparkling wine. And most top quality, U.S. sparkling wine producers proudly state that their wines are made by the French Méthode Champenoise.

But regardless of a bubbly's origin, its level of sweetness (or dryness) is a more important consideration for food pairing. Brut is bone dry to almost dry-less-and the most popular. Extra Sec or Extra Dry is slightly sweeter. Sec is medium sweet, Demi-sec is sweet, and Doux is very sweet-over five percent sugar. Both Demi-sec and Doux are also considered dessert wines. And for the light and layered vegetable terrine, we chose Pommery Brut NV. Champagne is an ideal choice for this dish. The effervescence of the bubbly reflects the clean lightness of the terrine and the citrus notes blend nicely with the zest in the goat cheese.

General manager Kevin Moore agrees. "Smoked salmon and sparkling wine make a classic pairing. The rich, smoky oiliness of the salmon is balanced by the toasty crispness of the Champagne. A dry still white wine would be fine, but a sparkling will lift the flavor experience of this dish to different heights. It's almost as if the flavors simply evaporate on the palate." This pairing is not only a perfect snack at their bar, it is available on the catering menu also. So whether you plan to host a wine pairing for a few friends or a wedding reception, this pairing is sure to please.

Other complements for various vegetable terrines include crisp, dry aromatic whites, such as an Australian Riesling or Vouvray. For terrines heavy in tomato, try a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or Vins de Pays des Cotes de Gascogne or a tangy red, such as Barbera. Or go beyond the traditional Champagne blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Blanc de Blancs are made only with Chardonnay grapes and pair well with lighter foods, such as seafood and vegetables. Blanc de Noirs are made of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes and fare well with full-flavored foods, especially those with a meat and cheese base. And Rosé, which acquires its color from the addition of Pinot Noir wine at the second fermentation, pairs well with Asian dishes.

 

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