Sweetness from Champagne
Looking for a new way to enjoy champagne? Consider drinking “local” throughout an entire meal—that is, choosing wines only from within the appellation of the Champagne region. Perhaps start with dry, dry champagne (extra brut) or clean, clean champagne (blanc de blancs), then move gradually towards bigger body, older vintage and sweeter dosage.
For dessert, instead of ending on a sweet demi-sec champagne, try the regional liqueur, Ratafia de Champagne. I recently tasted one from Henri Giraud from a blend 30% Chardonnay and 70% Pinot Noir ($28.95). It is made in the solera style with cuvees dating back 20 years, but imparts lots of freshness and elegance in the texture.
There are many ways to enjoy the liqueur, depending on your mood or the season. It can be a chilled apéritif in the summery months, and it shines with a lobster course during a meal or snuggles nicely next to cheese at the end of a meal. This deep orange, sherry-flavored nectar from the most expensive wine grapes in the world would be an effervescent accent to any repast.
PS: Morrell’s Wine Bar is serving strawberries marinated in the Ratafia in their local, wild strawberry shiso trifle ($8). And if you finish the dessert and still want more Ratafia, you can also order it by the glass ($13).