Welcome to Champagne at the Table, where we bring you monthly seasonal fair to pair with your fatcork bubbles. Whether you're sipping alongside a spicy curry or snacking on some coveted caviar, there's always a place for Champagne at the Table.
For this remarkably complex cuvée, Champagne growers extraordinaire Fabien and Séverine Mathieu age their chardonnay in neutral oak for an entire year before combining and fermenting it with pinot noir. Then, they allow the blend to age in the bottle for another four years before its release! Crystalline clarity enhances this Champagne’s deep golden hues, which speak of age under cork. With every sip, extremely fine and plentiful bubbles tickle the nose and delight the palate.
Bready and fruitful on the nose, aromas of yellow apples, citrus curd and lemon rind confront the senses while a soft touch of toasted marshmallow presents in the mid-palate. Well-balanced in flavor, the Esprit Saveur’s minerality and acidity reach a graceful peak before settling into a long lingering finish. This cuvée hits all the marks for a delightful sweater-weather Champagne.
How do we love this cuvée? Let us count the ways. We love it with salty snacks and gaggle of friends. We love it while sitting quietly on the porch looking out over the colorful fall foliage. And, most of all, we love it with this magical mushroom risotto recipe from Gather Journal.
As the temperatures drop and daylight dwindles, we’re drawn to crackling fires, cozy sweaters and comfort food served around a crowded table. Of all the heart-warming meals to know and love, we hold a special reverence for the rich, fluffy deliciousness that is risotto. Add in mushrooms from the season’s abundant selection at the farmers market, and, voilà, it’s fall perfection on a plate. This magical mushroom risotto recipe is particularly tantalizing, since its umami flavors, meaty texture and divine creaminess is the perfect contrast to our light and zippy but unctuous blend from Mathieu-Gandon. Don’t forget to grate some fresh Parmigiano Reggiano over the top of your finished dish to make the aged nutty notes in the Champagne truly pop.
- 3/4 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 pound mixed wild mushrooms, such as maitake, chanterelle or shiitake, torn into small clusters if large (fresh and seasonal from the farmers market is best but not required)
- 2 teaspoons thyme, chopped
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 3/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Use fresh porcini mushrooms from your local farmers market. Or, soak dried porcini in a bowl with 3 cups hot water. After 20 minutes, lift porcini from soaking liquid, squeezing out any excess water. Pour off, and reserve 2 cups of soaking liquid, leaving behind any settled grit from the mushrooms. Finely chop the mushrooms, and set aside.
- Heat 2 tablepsoons oil in a heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook fresh mushrooms, in batches if necessary, until golden and crisp. Add the thyme, and cook 1 minute longer. Transfer to a plate, and keep warm.
- Heat together the chicken broth and reserved mushroom liquid. Keep warm while making risotto.
- In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons butter and remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic, and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add porcini, and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Stir in the rice, and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. (You’ll be stirring constantly until the risotto is done.) Add wine, and simmer until absorbed. Pour in 1 cup hot broth, and cook until almost absorbed. Continue adding broth, about 3/4 cup at a time, cooking until broth is absorbed then adding more until the risotto is creamy and the rice is tender but still has a little bite. (You will have used about 5 cups of broth.) Stir in the cheese and remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve risotto immediately with sautéed mushrooms piled on top.