Repeated this ritual for thirty two times until now, and I still love birthdays. I continued my birthday tradition this year and got myself a special bottle of Champagne.
This year, I’d like to share with you how I designed my birthday dinner. When it comes to special days like this, I choose the wine first, and design the menu around it. I find it easier to build the menu around the wine. It gives room to choose different ingredients to create the flavor and texture which will go well with that specific wine. Let’s say we’re having a light bodied aromatic Gruner Veltliner for dinner. In that case, choosing some fresh herbs and olive oil to dress the food would work. But if it’s a Chardonnay, adding some butter to the sauce is a better idea. There are endless options to create the best food with the correct components to suit the wine.
The champagne I chose this year is Nicolas Feuillatte, Palmes d’Or Brut, from vintage 2006. I haven’t tasted this vintage before. So, for creating the menu around it, I read the technical sheet and had an understanding about the style it has. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay share equal parts in this blend and they went through all the aging together. It also went through malolactic fermentation, and topped with around eight grams per liter of dosage. What we can expect is a very complex and rounded Champagne.
With these clues, I designed my birthday menu, the theme is seafood. For a light appetizer, caprese skewers are a good option – very easy to make, super nice looking and tasty at the same time. As starter, grilled shrimp served with a salad of beetroot and tomato. Their sweetness and saltiness combine very well and give a great color and touch as well. For the main dish, just went with one of my favorite dishes, pasta. For the sauce, it wasn’t hard to decide since Nova Scotia has delicious and abundant lobsters. At that point, I had my main ingredients and then I passed to the details which make the difference and make the dish more palatable for the Champagne. For some acidity and freshness, I made a shallot cream sauce.
Nicolas Feuillatte, Palmes d’Or Brut, Vintage 2006
Amazingly elegant and creamy Champagne, great companion for birthday celebrations. The aromas of various stone fruits and brioche were the first ones to come up, and a touch of toast and roasted almonds gave only some more aromatic complexity and created different layers of flavors. On the palate it was still fresh with medium acidity, rounded, creamy and smooth. Great pairing with the briny sea flavor of lobster, and soft acidity of the combination of shallot and cream.
I’m happy and grateful to have a Champagne like this to celebrate. To years to come!
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