When invited to a dinner celebrating an anniversary, what do you take, Champagne? Well, yes, perhaps normally, but it would have been rude in this instance, as the celebration was to mark 35 years of Champagne production at Nicolas Feuillatte.
So up I rocked, empty handed, at south London restaurant Chez Manny for an evening of cascading Champagne and a dinner menu designed to match and compliment each of the different Nicolas Feuillatte Champagnes that were to star in this celebratory meal. Greeted with a glass of the Nicolas Feuillatte Non Vintage I sipped (well tried to just sip, it was difficult to be restrained) and chatted with my hosts while we waited for the other invited food and drink media guests to arrive. The Brut Non Vintage is, undoubtedly, an excellent Champagne with a crisp acidity and lovely clean sharp flavour, which delivers a constant stream of gentle bubbles. Certainly, this is a Champagne that I’d be happy to drink any time.
Once seated and glasses charged our hosts, the team from Nicolas Feuillatte talked a little about the company, its history and their Champagne production. We were told that the company was launched in 1976 by Nicolas Feuillatte, and since then has grown to be the fifth largest Champagne house, producing some 8 million bottles last year. They source grapes from some 5,000 growers in the Champagne region and they manage the quality of their non vintage varieties through balancing and blending it with reserved wines to ensure there is a consistent product that will taste the same year on year. Apart from the French market their Champagne is exported to 92 countries worldwide and the UK is the largest consumer of the Nicolas Feuillatte brand outside France.
Dinner got under way and our starters of some beautifully seared scallops were paired very well with the Brut Non vintage that we were greeted with when we arrived. The acidic crispness of the champagne worked well with both the scallop and the sauce they were served with, complementing them well. Mains of stuffed corn fed chicken, served with a cream and morel sauce, were paired with the Brut Rose Non Vintage Champagne, which I have written about on site before. The strawberry and red fruit notes in the wine and its acidity made a great foil for this dish cutting through the lovely creamy mushroom sauce perfectly. Finally the dessert, almond and pear tart with champagne sorbet was another lovely dish, light and well flavoured. This was paired with the Nicolas Feuillatte Cuvee Special Vintage 2000 Champagne which had a great deep flavour that balanced the sweetness of the tart really well. This was without doubt an very good meal indeed with excellent Champagnes to accompany it. A worthy way to mark the anniversary.
This was the first time I have drunk Champagne throughout a meal and I have to say, it was a brilliant thing to do. I’m not, by any means, suggesting that you might pair each of your courses at a restaurant or around your dining table, with different Champagnes as a regular thing; it’s a little decadent. But it’s a fun thing to do, perhaps every now and then and different Champagnes from the same house do deliver some individual distinctive flavours and characters. This meal was a perfect example of how different blends can produce Champagnes that will go perfectly with all kinds of foods. So, don’t be restricted to just popping a cork on a special occasion, open a bottle because you fancy it and it would be a great accompaniment to something you are serving. You only live once.
For more information about Nicholas Feuillatte go to: www.feuillatte.com
To read my piece about the Nicolas Feuillatte Rose Brut, click here
To find out more about Chez Manny, go to: www.chezmanny.com