Food-pairing known as impossible Champagne and Chocolate (2/2)


Nestled on the hillsides of Chamery – a village of the Montagne de Reims, which once visited tends to never leave you -, there is a family House on the edge of the vineyards where the undeniable complicity of two generations expresses itself through a fully assumed wine identity… With the Bertrand-Delespierre, the sense of family crafts wines with an impressive balance. Today, Clémence and Adrien are shaping hand in hand with their parents – Chantal and Didier – the future of the estate. Through respectful viticulture and winemaking, they create authentic wines, reflection of a great family spirit.


Located a few minutes from Reims, on the sandy lands of Chamery, Champagne Bertrand-Delespierre is a family estate with around ten hectares. Spread entirely over on the Premiers Crus of Chamery, Écueil, Ville-Dommange and Montbré villages, the soils of clayey-sands and clay-limestone are not only diversified and rich, but also preserved since Chantal and Didier have always had an approach of excellence regarding the respect for the environment and their land. Clémence, their eldest, and Adrien, their second, 4th generation of winegrowers in the family returned to the estate, and it is with great pride that they work today hand in hand with their parents, ensuring the continuity of their work but not without bringing their personal touch as well.

From this point forward, the plots are tilled and the wines are partly drawn according to the lunar cycle – without for all that speaking of biodynamic methods : “We are not looking for a certification or a label, we work according to our convictions” explains Clémence. Regarding the viticulture, this family of independent winegrowers takes care of its clay-limestone soils with an approach respecting the HVE standard – proud of their inheritance, each decision goes in the direction of life and it is out of the question to use more treatments than necessary! by the by Adrien and Clémence are very curious : consideration of the distribution of the sap at the pruning time, learning around green manures… no lead is set aside when it comes to the protection of their terroirs and their vines .

‘‘ We are not looking for a certification or a label, we work according to our convictions’’

In the cellar, the grapes are pressed in the traditional press and the practices are gentle in order to create pleasure champagnes of an indisputable quality from the first sip. Wood is used only to add complexity while preserving the purity and the identity of the wines. Precision, goodwill and free expression of wines… As with grapes, special attention is given to each of the wine throughout the whole process allowing the cuvées to express a perfect balance. At the time of the blending and the dosage, the decisions are naturally taken together as a family. The champagnes are balanced and offer a great precision.

For a few years now, a Saignée rosé entered the Bertrand-Delespierre range alongside the traditional blending rosé. A great opportunity to test the pairings on those two champagnes with complete different typicity.


Enfant de la Montage – literally the Mountain Boy/girl : this is the classic and the typical expression of the terroirs of the estate – the Rosé version of it, of course. A blend of 46% Pinot Noir, 36% Chardonnay and 18% Meunier mainly from a 2012 harvest (62%) balanced with 38% of reserve wines from harvests 2008 to 2011. The malolactic fermentation is partially done – only on the reserve wines. The dosage of 7g / L enables perfectly the purity of the soil to express all its potential.
Its orange-pink color presupposes pleasant generosity. The nose offers a striking balance with elegant red fruits aromas – cranberry, white cherry – as well as a great purity. The immediate impression on the palate is sharp with nice notes of strawberries, peaches and raspberries aromas. The finish reveals a nice freshness and more floral notes as well as an elegant salinity unveiling the presence of the minerality of the wine. A balanced and tender champagne with an impressive precision.

For the chocolate, the Anjou and its raspberry ganache from Maison Emmanuel Briet is self-evident. The raspberries are harvested when they reach maturity and the juice is made the same-day, which is what allows this generous and fruity character of the chocolate. For cocoa, 5 to 6 different crus are used from the 3 continents: America, Africa and Oceania ; therefore the entire cocoa panel is covered. The crus are blended, but the couverturiers suppliers – two are selected for the blend of this chocolate. The generosity, the roundness and the fresh raspberry notes from the creamy ganache harmonized with the balanced flavors of exceptional cocoa make it an unmissable combination. A very nice balance on this chocolate candy which enables a pairing on the aromas, but also on the textures.

The pairing
A first bite … Wait a few moments to give it time to melt and only then relaunch the tasting with a sip of champagne… Without delay, the raspberry of the ganache enhances the bouquet of red fruits of the blended rosé while subtly and elegantly highlighting the creamy minerality of the terroir of the Bertrand-Delespierre estate. A gourmet, fruity and aromatic pairing taking you by the hand ; a timeless and feminine harmony that will appeal to the greatest number.


For a few years now, Didier has also decided to use the so-called “de Saignée” method to create a 24-hour skin maceration rosé. So no blending here, since the 2012 Terres Amoureuses cuvée is a 100% Pinot Noir which calls for a meticulous  work of grape selection at the time of harvest. A singular wine with elegant power.
The color is an intense pink with beautiful deep red hints. First the nose brings red fruit notes expressing themselves with delicacy. Strawberry and cherry are expressive and it is with pleasure that the palate reveals the same aromas as well. An opulent champagne with a lot of freshness, balanced by a beautiful vinosity. The finish is both long and generous with round notes of brioche and again a nice aromatic intensity, highlighted by spicy notes. A wine of great finesse and a melted structure.

The spicy character of the champagne leaves the door open to Pondichéry and its ganache infused with a selection of five peppers – pink berries, long pepper, tailed pepper, Sarawak black pepper and Sichuan pepper. For the chocolate, only two origins of cocoa are used – Caribbean and Madagascar. The attack is pleasant on the pepper – dosed with subtlety – which reveals itself delicately and elegantly. The finish makes way to the cocoa notes of the chocolate without going for bitterness or power. A balanced and subtle chocolate.

The pairing
The common thread is around the spices. While the chocolate by itself discreetly expresses its peppery notes in early tasting and then become more discreet in the middle and on the finish, the pairing and harmony with the champagne are surprising. Indeed, the combination revives, like a gentle seaside wave, the peppery notes for a second dance. Gradually, the interaction is created between the two and the harmony takes on its full meaning. However, the chocolate notes do not shut up. Quite the opposite ! They are exalted by the fruity character of the cuvée.

 After these first two pairings, no doubt is possible : the harmonies seem almost easy, leaving the door open to many others… Therefore impossible not to be tempted by the pure Grand Cru Ambaja chocolate from Maison Briet which offers aromas of red fruit and passion with acidulous notes.
The opportunity later to repeat the experience with a 100% Pinot Blanc cuvée – a so-called forgotten grape of Champagne with exotic notes… In the meantime, let’s rather discover another so-called impossible pairing with Champagne wines: cigar…

*literally : the loving soil – an expression used when the soil is soft and sticky, bonding to the winegrowers’ boot


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