- Why you should be drinking champagne in winter, too
- A beginner's guide to champagne styles (and food pairings)
There's nothing sommeliers get more excited about than matching fizz with food, except for maybe vin jaune and fondling dirt. Here are five places with an excellent champagne offering and ideas for how to pair it during these months of porridge and jeggings.
Bennelong, Sydney Opera House, Sydney
Suckling pig sausage roll ($25) with Krug Grande Cuvee ($89 a glass).
Bennelong might be offering the sexiest winter deal in Sydney. Beneath the Opera House ribs you can enjoy a glass of Krug with Peter Gilmore's black garlic-enhanced sausage roll for the not-so-low price of $110 until August 31. Highly bougie, yes, but also objectively delicious and Krug by the glass is a rare treat. "It's the ultimate guilty pleasure," says head sommelier Amanda Yallop. "The pairing works so well because of the sausage roll's buttery pastry."
Grilled duck breast, roasted jerusalem artichokes and cumquat salsa verde ($48) with 2010 Chartogne-Taillet Orizeaux ($225 a bottle).
Champagne maker Alexandre Chartogne likes to ferment and vinify his wines in oak, which gives even more weight and mouth-feel to this blanc de noirs. "It is rich and powerful enough to accompany duck breast, has the texture to match jerusalem artichoke and the natural acidity to pair with cumquat," says Fred's senior head sommelier Paul Huet. "A steal at $225!"
Restaurant Hubert, Sydney
Roe boat ($12) with NV Vilmart Grande Reserve ($28 a glass, $196 a bottle).
"This is a baller grower champagne," says Hubert sommelier Andy Tyson. "Vilmart is one of the top champagne houses in the region with relatively small production. It's a broad-shouldered kind of style (richer with a hint of oak), but still fresh as a daisy. Usually champagnes are described as having notes of brioche or toast, but this smells like a big block of butter lathered in new Porsche upholstery. It's been working well with our roe boat dish – a little boat of brik pastry with cod roe cream, trout roe, avruga and uni. Richer style champagne and uni is the bomb."
The Dolphin, Surry Hills
Spaghetti burro and Ortiz anchovies ($18) with NV Hure-Freres "Invitation" Brut ($27 a glass, $155 a bottle).
"I love champagne with anchovies," says Dolphin and Icebergs Group sommelier James Hird. "Anchovies are even better with a champagne's toasty characters and a buttery bowl spaghetti added to the mix. Throw in a banging Hure-Freres pinot meunier-dominant blend sustainably farmed in Ludes and thank me later."
Monopole, Potts Point
Lamb neck, jerusalem artichoke and rosemary ($38) with Bruno Paillard Premiere Cuvee Extra Brut ($26 a glass).
Red wine is great with lamb if you're in the mood to pass out on the couch afterwards. But a rich, nutty style of champagne like the Bruno Paillard currently pouring at Monopole can really cut through fat and heighten a dish. "Rosemary pops beautifully with champagne, while jerusalem artichokes have a creamy quality which picks up the chardonnay in this kick-arse extra brut," says Monopole manager and sommelier Glen Goodwin.
Sydney's best bottle shops for champagne
Prince Wine Store, 38-40 Hansard Street, Zetland
Five Way Cellars, 4 Heeley Street, Paddington
Vine Wine, shop 1, 780 Bourke Street, Redfern
Camperdown Cellars, 233 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, and various locations.