Cachet d'Or - Gold Seal
Domaine J Lassalle Brut Réserve, France, served with mushroom-stuffed gruyere gougeres
Hello my lovely jubbley bubblies. Welcome to the 25th edition of wonderful Wine Blogging Wednesday, a regular online wine appreciation event started over two years ago by Lenn of the Lenndevours. This month I asked people to review Champagne. I went out on a limb by insisting on the real mccoy, the stuff that comes from the official Champagne region of France. I also suggested perhaps finding a smaller producer or trying some food pairing to those who might be inclined.
Looking for a wine that will run a few laps around Veuve Clicquot Brut??
I would most often buy my champagne from K & L Wines in San Francisco. They specialise in champagne from small producers and have a great selection at around the $30 mark. But last Saturday, Fatemeh had kindly promised to treat me to a glass of champagne at The Ferry Plaza Wine Merchants after a stroll around the farmers market. It so happened that we bumped into Catherine and Brett too, so the four of us shared a bottle of the Domaine J Lassalle Cachet D'or Brut Réserve together whilst we small-talked about food, blogging and other things.
We all particularly liked this golden champagne with its hundreds of very small bubbles rising in gently flowing swathes, it's rich flavour, its slight whiff of cellar, its hint of sherry, its substance on the tongue, its depth and its complexity. It's a non-vintage small-production wine with a distinct level of maturity and great value for just $33 a bottle.
Notes from Peter Granoff: "This small family Champagne house is named for the late Jules Lassalle, and today is run by his widow and daughter. Their production is a mere 6,000 cases annually - as much wine as some of the better known Champagne brands will bottle in one day. Domaine Lassalle's methodology is traditional, draws solely on Premier and Grand Cru vineyards, and the resulting wines are truly delicious. The Cachet d'Or Cuvée is a blend of Chardonnay (25%), Pinot Meunier (60%), and Pinot Noir (15%). As Champagnes go, it is quite rich and flavourful."
Although I drink sparkling wines often, even when I am out for dinner, when I was thinking about specifically pairing food with champagne the stereotype of blinis with smoked salmon and caviar immediately sprung to mind. Andrew from Spittoon in the UK kindly helped me consider some more interesting options by posting a Guide to Matching Champagne & Food. I double checked a few other resources and the same foods were being suggested over and over again, especially for a Brut champagne: gruyere cheese and mushrooms. This was the perfect excuse to make gougeres and stuff them with one of my favourite vegetables. I used a recipe left by Brett over a year ago in the comments section of one of my posts about cheese puffs. It worked a treat. For the mushrooms I simply diced them small and cooked them in butter until tender, adding a little cream, salt and pepper at the end. I stuffed the puffs with the mushrooms after they had finished cooking. Gougeres are best served fresh. They can be eaten hot, straight from the oven but I think they match the champagne better once they have cooled down to room temperature. Don't bake too far in advance, though, they are certainly much better for not having been out of the oven for too long.
Ummmmmmm, champagne and gougeres. Genius! How long until my next excuse to celebrate something?
PS Thanks to all the the other entries I have started to see appear all over blogdom. I can't wait to read them all, and will publish a round up of everyone's entries in the next few days.
PPS Fred told me that "Cachet D'or" which as I understand him means 'gold seal' is an old fashioned, now unused chi-chi, snobby French term to describe things as very fine. I am a little perplexed as to why this wine even has the name "Cachet d'or" since it wasn't written on the label, just in the description from the wine merchants.