A recent food and champagne pairing at Brasserie Enffin, saw a menu specially prepared by chef James Won and champagne maker Pierre Casenave flown down to Kuala Lumpur for the tasting.
The first course of the afternoon began with a marriage of land and sea: scallop torchon with chicken skin and caviar, bound with an oyster emulsion. Paired with the Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut, the sharpness of the champagne variant enhanced the freshness of the seafood.
The second entrée was a grain-fed lamb of short loin carpaccio with a confit of strawberries, puff cherry and dressed with a champagne mustard, paired with the Veuve Clicquot Rosé. The fruity notes from this particular champagne complemented the tart berry while the mustard flavours brought lightness to the lamb.
The main course for the afternoon comprised of a trio of pork in the form of a pork shoulder, pork belly and pork ribs, paired with the lush Veuve Clicquot La GrandeDame 2004. The richness of this particular drop sang alongside the hearty flavours of the meat.
Dessert was a deliciously sweet pairing of a citrus gelée and cloud served with the Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut. The pairing accentuated the fresh and citrus notes in the Yellow Label Brut and kept the palate fresh and balanced with additional richness and persistence to the fruity, citrusy finish.
buro 24/7 Malaysia had the opportunity that afternoon to chat with Pierre about his favourite champagnes and pairings.
What is your favourite champagne to drink?
I really like the Rose Vintage. it is very fruity, easy to drink, refreshing and I like the rose with different foods such as charcuterie, foie gras, tatare, beef caparcio and also sashimi and cheese.
What variant would you suggest to someone who is an accomplished drinker?
I would suggest for them to go for vintages for a different experience and something more expressive and powerful because non-vintages are known to be consistent and vintages have a personal identity depending on each vintage, so they are quite unique.
What are three things most people don't know about champagne?
Champagne is a protected appellation only coming from the Champagne area in north Est of France. It can age very well and even more than most of other wines and it is a gastronomic wine that can be tasted during a lunch or dinner.
To you, champagne is best enjoyed when....
With family friends at any occasion and with finger food tapas.
Do you think there are "drinking rules" to be broken, and if so, what are they?
Yes! Officially, the very serious sommeliers don't like the pop of the cork when opening a bottle. Who cares, I just love it!
When pairing champagne with food, what should one look out for?
Balance in order to be beneficial for both food and champagne, of course.
How did you get started in your career?
I was a pharmacist for a short time then decided to change my life. I studied enology and became a winemaker. I have worked in many countries and love the lifestyle around the wine world.
What would you consider to be the best part of your job?
Being part of the tasting committee when we taste all the base wines to elaborate on the Yellow label.