A Sparkling Discussion – In a Pickle

There are more than seven types of wine that qualify as sparkling, only one of which is officially Champagne.

As most know, Champagne can only be made in the Champagne region of France. Marketview Liquor has a really good explanation of region and origin of Champagne.

I won’t go into the differences, as there are quite a few good references available. A few of my favorites:

And if you’re like me and learn via graphics – Le Grand Courtâge’s article “What is the Difference Between Sparkling Wine and Champagne?” has a nice one which shows the amount of residual sugar in each type. It’s originally from We Drink Bubbles

Why am I in a pickle?

Because as weird as it sounds – I love the non-traditional pairing of pickles and champagne. And this past New Year’s Eve – the Grits & Wine Cru tried out the same pickle with three different types.

We chose Murray’s Garlic & Dill pickle spears for this experiment.

We started with the Texas Fizz – a sparkling white wine from Hidden Hangar in Denison Texas. Very light and fruity (apricot & citrus) – the pickle enhanced the sweetness of the sparkling wine.

We moved to Richebel Sparkling Brut (from France) which had more mixed stone fruit flavor than the Texas Fizz. The pickle was good – but not as good as the Fizz – so a little flat. But the cru member who brought it thought they grabbed the prosecco not the “mimosa” sparkling wine.

We toasted the new year with the Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut. Personally, my favorite sparkling and my favorite pairing – but half the cru preferred the pickle with the sweeter Texas Fizz, even if it brought out the garlic and salt in the pickle.

Final Thoughts

I will continue to try and convert people to the idea that Champagne and pickles is not weird. No one bats an eyelash at Champagne and Pizza… Champagne and Caviar…. Why not the humble pickle. In the end, we decided the experiment needed to be repeated with a different pickle. Personally I prefer it with a nice kosher dill with a little less garlic. One of the cru wants to try it with bread and butter pickles, and another with spicy pickles. That’s fine – I don’t need an excuse to drink champagne and eat pickles – but I’ll take any opportunity given. If you have suggestions for pickle brands/types and bubble combinations – let me know and we’ll give them a go.

If you haven’t read “The Widow Clicquot” by Tilar J. Mazzeo – I highly recommend it.

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