De Castellane tasting

The ultimate aperitif

Not all Champagne is created equal. As seen in the last post, it can be slaved over to create millions of layers of complexity, or it can be made as the ultimate aperitif.

After visiting Krug, I wanted to explore the other end of the spectrum when it comes to Champagne styles and De Castellane hit the spot perfectly.

Now owned by Laurent Perrier, with their elegant, fresh and surprisingly mineral style, De Castellane is one of those Champagnes that can go down dangerously easily!

On a cold, foggy February morning we headed through a deserted Epernay, down the Avenue de Champagne. Even the weather couldn’t dampen my spirits though. Grande Marque followed one after another, until we finally arrived at De Castellane.

 
Pol Roger Epernay

 
Moet Epernay

 
Perrier Jouet Epernay
 
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With miles worth of chalk cellars underneath their winery, we toured our way through the busy (and very noisy!) winery and bottling line.

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bottling

Ending with a tasting in their amazing old labelling room. It turns out that back in the day, provided you were ordering enough bottles, you could have your own Champagne named and labelled after you.

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This beautiful room housed all the old labels, but we were there to taste and so taste we did. My personal favourite was the vintage, which was as easy-drinking as the NV but with a little more depth. The rosé blew me away though, as I’ve never tasted such a fruity, strawberry-scented pink Champagne.

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While De Castellane proved itself to be the ultimate aperitif, here are my top three foods to eat with Champagne:

Charouce

I had never heard of this dual-natured cheese until Christmas-time last year. A friend recommended it to be the perfect cheese for Champagne, and so naturally I had to try it. Its innards are chalky – just like the soils of the region(!) – and its outer edges are as gooey as a ripe brie. The combination is partnered perfectly with Champagne’s naturally fresh nature which cuts though the ‘ooof’ feeling you can get from the cheese, with the bubbles adding an extra little lift.

Fish and chips

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Champagne and good ol’ British fish and chips works so well together. It cuts through the grease and is a brilliant combination. Just one small tip: skip the vinegar.

Jamon Iberico

It might seem strange to pair a Spanish ham with classically French wine, but it ticks the boxes of being both salty and fatty, so naturally it works well with Champagne. A platter of jamon, a bottle of Champagne amongst friends and you know you’re in for a good night.