In December we took a little pre-Christmas trip to St Andrews, we’d been invited to an event with Krug Champagne. Like most people (I think?) I always presumed that champagne was for special occasions, and I guess the price dictates that a little bit, but our host Olly was there to let us know that you can enjoy champagne any time, along with a few other insights which I will share with you.
Each year Krug champions a different ingredient to show how well Krug pairs with food. This year is fish, to celebrate they have created a little mackerel tasting dish that you can enjoy complimentary when you order a glass of Krug at Rogue – Seared West Coast Mackerel, Puffed Rice, Smoked Mussel Tempura, Sea Purslane.
While we enjoyed this as a starter Olly told us a bit about champagne and it was a bit of a masterclass for me. Generally champagne is made with three types of grape: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Mounier. The most expensive wines are made with these grapes so it makes sense that they come together to create champagne, which makes up just 1% of all the sparkling wine produced in the world.
One of the most distinctive aspects of champagne is of course the bubbles and these are created in the bottle, yeast is added which creates carbon dioxide and other flavours. As the yeast dies it leaves behind flavours of brioche, the yeast is then removed via a process called riddling.
The House of Krug was set up in 1853 by Johann Josef Krug who moved from Germany to Paris, he was a visionary who wanted to create two champagnes of equal importance. The first should be the fullest expression of a champagne, the second should capture the specifics of that year. Despite misconceptions, the price of Krug champagne doesn’t reflect the quality, simply the rarity of the champagne, so you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy the best champagne. Also, champagne that is aged doesn’t necessarily get better, it just changes.
In terms of enjoying your bottle of champagne, keep it simple. Let it breathe for a bit after opening (yes, really) and serve it in a glass that kicks out but narrows at the top (flutes are dead apparently!).
Our destination for our special lunch was Rogue in St Andrews which specialises in some beautiful aged beef so we all tucked into some steak as our main – and despite there being red and white wine on offer (Cloudy Bay), I decided to stick with the champagne, a first for me.
Our lunch was rounded off with a Passionfruit Parfait & Pineapple Sorbet, and a dram of Glenmorangie Spios.