Champagne Dinner at the CORE: club


2005 Dom Pérignon 


2010 Roses de Jeanne – Cédric Bouchard Blanc de Noirs Les Ursules


2003 Krug Vintage


2004 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne   


2004 Dom Ruinart 


NV (2011) Bérèche et Fils Rosé Campania Remensis


NV (2010) Laherte Frères Rosé de Saignée Les Beaudiers Vieilles Vignes 



Foie Gras Terrine; Hazelnut brittle, apple butter, cider gelée 

Seared Sea Scallop; Licorice sweet potato purée, cauliflower mushroom, hyssop emulsion

Duck Breast; Sunchoke purée, roasted vegetable, chanterelle, yogurt gnocchi, five spices jus

All Chocolate Tart; Milk chocolate crème, white chocolate tart, dark & white chocolate sorbet

Exploring the myriad dimensions of Champagne at the table was the focus of this fabulous dinner at the CORE: club in New York City. For the occasion, I chose eight of my favorite Champagnes across all styles to pair with the cuisine of Chef Bernard Liberatore.

Timeless beauty was the theme of the wines we tasted during the reception. Roederer’s NV Brut Premier offers a compelling combination of quality, value and wide availability that is pretty much impossible to beat. It is one of my favorite Champagnes in the $40-50 range. On this night, it is delicious. The same can be said for the 2005 Dom Pérignon, which is simply gorgeous. The 2005 is, unusually, Chardonnay-based, which gives it considerable energy and focus.

With the foie gras terrine, I choose two wines that show different approaches to pairings; contrasts versus complements. The 2010 Roses de Jeanne – Cédric Bouchard Blanc de Noirs Les Ursules is superb. Now with a little more time in bottle, the 2010 delivers tons of precision and crystalline energy, two of the signatures that make Cédric Bouchard’s Champagnes so riveting. All of the brightness in the wine is a striking complement to the richness of the foie.

The 2010 Ursules is a real crowd pleaser on this night, and one of my favorites, too. Krug’s 2003 Vintage brings out the richness in the foie nicely. On this night, though, the 2003 is a bit reserved, with its toastiness, generosity and burnished warmth less evident than they have been in the past. It may be that the 2003 is going through a closed period, something that may be good for its overall longevity. We will see.

Chardonnay is the theme of the night flight. Both Champagnes are from 2004, a vintage I have always adored, especially for Chardonnays and the Côte de Blancs in particular. The 2004 Dom Ruinart shows the richer, more opulent side of Chardonnay because of the significant presence of fruit from the Montagne de Reims, which is one of the qualities that always distinguishes Dom Ruinart from most other Blanc de Blancs. Taittinger’s 2004 Comtes de Champagne is simply magnificent. Bright, precise and chiseled, the 2004 simply has it all. A wine that has continued to develop after release, the 2004 confirms its place as one of the great Comtes. This is another crowd favorite. Both Champagnes are delicious with the seared sea scallop course, but the Comtes has just a little more persistence and finesse.


Seared Sea Scallop; Licorice sweet potato purée, cauliflower mushroom, hyssop emulsion

The NV (2011) Campania Remensis Rosé from Bérèche was supposed to be the 2012, but in the end, the 2011 provides a great opportunity to talk about grower Champagnes and the pros and cons of artisan wines in Champagne. Even talented, passionate growers like the Bérèche family can’t do much when the vintage presents overwhelming challenges. The 2011 is strident, green and vegetal, which is a real shame as the Campania Remensis is one of my favorite Rosé Champagnes. Laherte’s Rosé de Saignée Les Beaudiers Vieilles Vignes is stunning, both on its own and with the duck course. This old-vine 100% Pinot Meunier offers striking depth, density and richness, essentially all the things a saigneé Rosé should. It is a gorgeous wine Champagne in every way.

The all chocolate tart puts a delicious, sweet exclamation point on a fabulous night of wine, food and conversation.

-- Antonio Galloni