Seared tuna with champagne flutes on a table, Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia

“It frustrates me to realize that 90% of Champagne is probably drunk by people standing up,” says Ruinart cellar master Frédéric Panaïotis. “I think Champagne is a great partner for food, and should also be enjoyed sitting at the table, with a proper glass, a great meal and good friends!” Top sommeliers agree: Champagne has an abundance of acidity and comes in a variety of sweetness levels, making it extremely food friendly and versatile at the table. These are a few of their personal picks.

 

“People love artichokes and they are really common in our market. They can be a challenge with wine, but Champagne is one of the best pairings for the grilled artichoke and crab cakes on the HMF at The Breakers menu. Rosé Champagne will handle food with a little more weight, like pasta with mushrooms, or meats from duck sausage all the way through steak.”

– Virginia Phillips, MS, The Breakers, Palm Beach

 

“Demi sec is an easier way to step into Champagne than a brut style because it does not have the same sharpness. With a touch of sweetness, it’s extremely easy to enjoy! What people may not realize is how amazing these wines are with desserts. They have the necessary sweetness to stand up to the dessert, but also offer balance, so I think they are generally a much better match than sweet dessert wines.”

– Harley Carbery, director of wine, Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

 

“One of the reasons I like Dom Perignon for The French Laundry is the food is refined and elegant and that is also the hallmark of Dom Perignon. When the wines are younger, they are wonderful with caviar and oysters. As they age, they develop candied nut and toasty qualities and they develop a broader range, able to go with a variety of foods. So each stage of development also has a place at the table.”

– Dennis Kelly, MS, Head Sommelier, The French Laundry, Napa

 

“Entire meals based around Champagne are some of the most elegant, beautiful food-friendly wine menus I’ve ever been able to be a part of. Crudo, much like sushi, is a perfect match for a wine that has so much finesse and liveliness on the palate, especially when you match with the fattier, richer types of fish. The Champagne is almost like a refreshing squeeze of citrus on top of the fish.”

– Jeffrey Porter, wine director, Del Posto, New York City

 

“We pour a glass of Krug for every person that walks in the door. Krug is a richer style, suited not only as an aperitif but also with food. We don’t necessarily encourage it, but several times a week people are so taken with it that they will just order and drink Krug through the meal. I think once you have a bite of food with Champagne, it becomes apparent why it works.”

– Mark Bright, wine Director and co-owner, Saison, San Francisco