Welcome to Talking Adelaide's first Friday Bubbles post – the plan is to share regular beverage suggestions (especially Champagne) for the weekend.
In the wake of this year’s Bastille Day, six of us gathered on a wintry night in a little dining room, in the smallest house in the city to taste French Champagne.
Taste, not just drink.
And thus the Beirut Champagne Club was born. The name is a nod to our first meeting place. It’s a nickname the locals gave the south-west corner of the city a while ago.
Our hostess Anne-Marie did us proud. Not only selecting 5 different and palate challenging bottles but serving a 4 course French-inspired dinner including her own Gougeres (recipe below). Gougeres are a cheese-flavoured puff that go so well with Champagne.
The five Champagnes we tasted where all accessible and pretty much entry level wines.
There was only one Grand Marque – the Laurent Perrier NV, which we started with, chosen deliberately by Anne-Marie to awaken the mouth and set a benchmark for comparisons.
My personal favourites were No.s 3 & 5.
What amazed some of us was how much the Champagnes changed, as they grew warmer in the glass or bottle. Some more than others.
We compared (to say judge would imply too much knowledge) each Champagne on colour (out of 3), nose (out of 7) and palette (out of 10).
This is what we drank, some of our thoughts and my votes in parentheses:
1. Laurent Perrier Brut LP NV $69.99 @Champagne Gallery.
A typical tasting French Champagne that grew duller or flatter but also sweeter as it grew warmer. Suit newcomers to real Champagne drinking (2/5/6).
2. Le Mesnil 2004 Blanc De Blancs $79.99 @ Edinburgh Cellars.
This is a grower’s wine that had a slight sourness to the back palate that became more interesting the longer it was in the glass. From the same village as Krug Le Mesnil. (2.5/6/7).
3. Chartogne-Taillet 2004 Brut $85 @ Champagne Gallery.
The 60 per cent Pinot Noir meant it tasted yeastier, it smelled like bread dough, also had a taste of wood. More golden in colour. Expect to taste pears, hazelnuts, almonds and spices. This wine finishes on the tongue really well. (2.5/7/8).
4. Christophe LeFevre Cuvee Prestige $58.99 @ Champagne Gallery.
A toasty, biscuit wine and a bit drier – 80 per cent of this wine comes from “outstanding” (according to Champagne Gallery) 2008 vintage, the rest from 2007. This is an organic wine grower. (3/6/7).
5. Canard-Duchene Cuvee Leonie $68 @ Edinburgh Cellars.
A blend of 50 per cent Pinot Noir, 25 per cent Pinot Meunier and 25 per cent Chardonnay; a great colour and opens up as it warms in the glass. It’s described as an aperitif and excellent accompaniment to food – it also worked well with cheese and our dessert of quince tart. (2.5/7/8)
This recipe requires a Thermomix or similar. This is a link to a Dan Lepard recipe that doesn’t.
Makes 18 – total time including baking 45 minutes
Handful fresh chives (or herbs of choice)
80g strong hard cheese cubed (Romano, Pecorino or Parmesan are ideal)
Pinch each salt and chilli powder
180g plain flour
Pre-heat oven to 220ºC. Line 2 baking trays with paper and set aside.
Place chives or herbs and cubed cheese into Thermomix (TM) bowl and mill for 10 seconds on speed 9. Set aside.
Place water, salt, chilli powder and butter into TM bowl and cook for 10 minutes at 100ºC on speed 4.
Add flour and mix for 30 seconds on speed 4, or until you see the pastry coming away from the sides of the bowl. Cool for about 10 minutes.
Add eggs to the mixture by dropping one egg at a time through hole in lid as you mix for 30-40 seconds on speed 5.
Add herb and cheese mixture to TM bowl and mix in for 5 seconds on speed 5 after the last egg, reserving a little of the cheese to garnish the tops of the profiteroles.
Proceed to pipe or spoon as for normal profiteroles, top each puff with a little of the cheese and bake for 10 minutes in pre-heated oven. Reduce heat to 180ºC and continue baking for a further 20 minutes until tops are golden.
Author: Thermomix in Australia