Champagne and caviar? The pairing is considered a remnant of the past and an expensive indulgence without a place in today’s modern world. Sometimes, however, we can lose sight of time-proven, tried-and-trued traditions that are just as reliable and perfect as any other fad.
However, just like fashion, drink trends are reintroduced over time. One example: On the West coast, The Caviar Company was founded by sisters Petra Bergstein and Saskia Bergstein. In 2015, they started selling to restaurants like SingleThread or Michael Mina. They then opened a San Francisco retail store in 2017 and added a Tiburon tasting room in 2020. In the capital is Apero. This Champagne-focused bar opened in San Francisco’s Georgetown neighbourhood in spring 2021. It fills the gap for a place where you can get great caviar or Champagne.
Alongside this bubbly burst of new sparkling-wine-centric spots are the longstanding institutions, both stateside and abroad, which have never stopped embracing the classic pairing. Alba Grant, manager of Balthazar Champagne bar, a five-star d’Angleterre hotel in Copenhagen, says, “It’s such luxury, just the way it is; simple and delicious, a delicacy.” This combination is unbeatable once you have tried it. Champagne’s crisp freshness is paired with caviar’s high oil, fat, and saltiness will make this a delicious combination. The luxury of it never fails to impress. It doesn’t matter how often you drink it; it never gets old. That is what makes a classic.
While it’s a delicious combination, more people are discovering that it doesn’t always have to be extravagant. Elli Benchimol is Apero’s owner. She is also a sommelier.
Caviar Co. events coordinator Tess Roletti echoes this belief. She says, “We believe there is a caviar to suit every day of the year. The same applies for Champagne.”
Maybe the current lack of pretentiousness may be the key to the revival of Champagne and caviar. These tips will help you create the same sensational experience at home with the combination.
Bottles to Seek out
Grant suggests starting with dry Champagnes. Grant says that it could be brut or extra brut. “Pol Roger brut” is a wonderful example of Champagne with sour-fruity flavours that pair well with most caviar.
It’s easy to hunt for big Champagne houses and growers, but Benchimol is more inclined to look for smaller producers and houses. She has a special affinity for Bouzy, a Grand Cru village. She says that there are many hidden gems and that while most fruit is sold to large prestige houses, small family growers who remain and bottle their own produce are worth looking out for. She identifies several producers she should explore, including Pierre Paillard, Andre Clouet and Camille Saves. She says that while entry-level cuvees can be life-changing and stellar, their prestige cuvees are often half the price of larger houses’ prestige cuvees. The quality is unmatched.
Benchimol cites Larmandier Bernier as her top choice. These rose de Saignee Champagnes, new to the Aube region, are full-bodied and delicious companions for the classic pearls.
The Caviar Company approves the same producer, but with a different bottle and a different caviar pairing. Rolette says that “Larmandier–Bernier Latitude Brut NV champagne is a full-bodied champagne that pairs well with Kaluga Hybrid caviar.” Its flavours of stone fruits and blanched almonds complement the caviar’s rich, creamy flavour and incredible texture.”
Champagne Can Be Just as Variable as Caviar
With a Champagne-and caviar pairing, it is important to remember that you have other options. Grant says caviar’s flavour range is as varied as the Champagne grapes. Caviar, like Champagne, can be many things.
Rolette believes pairing Champagne and caviar is an exploratory experience, and it’s impossible to go wrong. Her top tips include pairing rich, creamy, and warm Champagnes with more luxurious caviars. For bright, mineral- and fruit-forward Champagnes, choose caviar that is salty and earthy.