Pairing known as impossible Champagne and Cigare (3/3)

Champagne PERSEVAL-FARGE

With a big and warm smile on their face, Isabelle and Benoist welcome epicureans in search for champagne goldsmithery wines… Proud of their heritage and their terroir, they cultivate with sincerity, authenticity, pragmatism and determination both “classic” and “Forgotten” grape varieties of Champagne. A conscientious winegrower, an outstanding winemaker … there was no doubt that with Benoist’s perfectionism, the wine would be good. Today, this passionate winemaker proudly transmits his know-how to his son, Henry, working hand in hand with him and thus perpetuating the history of the family estate.

THE goldsmithery of CHAMERY

Nestled in the heart of the Montagne de Reims vineyard, the Perseval-Farge family has been living on the clay-sandy hillsides of Chamery for more than two centuries. It is there, in this postcard landscape that Isabelle, Benoist and Henry take care of their Grand Cru wines, which seduce true connoisseurs. The family benefits from a vineyard spread exclusively on one Cru, but the soil of Chamery is very specific : clayey sand slope and mid-slopes and heights of clay-limestone, full of sand – unlike the neighboring terroir richer in clay – which explains the complex, frank and lively character of the wines. For those big-hearted  winemakers, no compromise is possible and only the best quality is sought, starting in the vineyard. The 4 hectares of vines are cultivated like a garden, through an approach of viticulture certified HVE – High Environmental Value – allowing the winegrowers to craft confidential and haute-couture cuvées, expressing all the quintessence of their so meticulously preserved terroir. Here, this is not the time for simplicity, each of the wines comes from a real work of goldsmith.

Champagne-and-Cigar-Pairing-Perseval-Farge

In the cellar, the wines is crafted, vinified in the continuity of what is done in the vineyard : with great respect. The vinification is very precise and each champagne is crafted in a unique way in order to let each individuality express itself through palettes of flavors, without arrogance or extravagance. Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, but also Pinot Gris – also called Fromenteau -, Petit Meslier and Arbanne… Benoist blends both traditional and old grape varieties to create unique styles, with strong, assertive personality. Passionate and captivating, Isabelle and Benoist sculpt emotional wines, each cuvée is unique and crafted individually. The meticulous and demanding nature of the vinification process offers a specific signature to Champagne Perseval-Farge : confidential, elegant, precise and harmonious champagnes, both frank and vinous. Author’s wines balanced with a well-present freshness making the Perseval-Farge cuvée ideal for gastronomic moments.
Regarding the dosage, Benoist only admits one trend today : the one of balance. Consequently, the level of added sugar is fixed each year, with a view to respecting the identity and the balance of each wine.

To learn more about Champagne Perseval-Farge, click here to read their portrait.

TASTING
CUVÉE 197 – 2005 OLD VINTAGE

This cuvée owes its name to the date of creation of the Estate: 1808. A blend of 55% Chardonnay, 31% Pinot Noir and 14% Meunier exclusively from the 2005 harvest. Therefore, a signature specific to the Estate, reflecting the specific conditions of this distinctive harvest. The vinification is done in thermoregulated stainless steel vats with 32% in oak barrels. As for the malolactic fermentation, it is carried out partially. A dosage of only 1.3g /L puts the finishing touch to this gastronomic vintage.
The color is deep gold with some darker hints. As for the nose, it reveals without doubt the age of the wine : the notes of undergrowth, moss and moist soils after the morning dew. Yet, there is still a freshness very present as well. The palate is ample, generous with a nice roundness as well as smoky and slightly spicy notes around pepper and ginger. Some bitters appear, but with a lot of subtlety. The finish unveils the freshness felt on the nose, with gourmet aromas of ripe grapefruit and some hints of tobacco. A connoisseur champagne, with nuance and subtlety, opening up the field of possibilities in terms of pairing with cigars.

THE PAIRING
The cigar – DAVIDOFF ANIVERSARIO R CIGAR

This robusto cigar is made with a wrapper from Ecuador, a Dominican binder and filler. Its specificity : it offers all its aromas, it fully express itself from the beginning. Our two cigar experts immediately told us it can easily be paired with champagne.
A robusto, with a 50 caliber vitola and a dark brown, greasy and oily wrapper. The nose is both ample and generous, expressing notes of cedar and fruity oak scent. On the palate, its thick and creamy smoke brings delicate aromas of pepper, leather and sweet spices as well as notes of hazelnut, chocolate and coffee.

Result of the pairing

At first, both the champagne and the cigar seem to observe each other, , challenging at first before getting along. Here, it is clearly the champagne that enhanced the cigar, letting the latter express all the subtlety of its character. The wine step aside to put the light on the cigar, but only to bring more elegance and smoothness to it. The pairing obviously works and is pleasant. However, it is not what is called a perfect match – i.e when both product brings something to the other in order to take the tasting to the next level : the emotional one.

The Second cigar – FLOR DE SELVA FINO

Champagne-and-Cigar-FlorDeSelva

One of the favorite cigar of the two sisters. A 100% Honduras since filler, binder and wrapper come exclusively from the lands of Honduras. A distinguished and elegant Flor de Selva.
The filler is elegant, and the wrapper of a beautiful light brown. The nose is pleasant with rather woody scents and contrasting notes on the spices. The smoking offers a smooth start on freshness and fruitiness. The second third is more spicy with a moderate and contained power. The complexity sets in with a nice balance, offering aromas of fresh herbs. Slightly woody, it offers small notes of mushroom, like certain champagnes with aging – an undergrowth side. The palate is a little more powerful at the end, but all in subtlety and smoothness. It is called the Great corona.

Result of the pairing

Champagne-and-Cigar-Pairing

Once again, the cigar from the House of Flor de Selva allows the champagne to express its entire aromatic palette without overwhelming the subtlety of the vintage.
Note, however, that more powerful cigars will flourish alongside old vintages with an even longer aging, or champagnes with more woody notes that will have been aged in barrels.
The Fino pairing works perfectly here. Even, if at first both product consider themselves, sometimes trying to gain the upper hand over the other, an harmony is gradually created between the two who calm each other offering a beautiful and balanced moment of emotion.

If the cigar and champagne pairing seems at first sight a complicated exercise to match the freshness of the wines and the warmth of the cigar smoke, the two harmonies made were able to create a moment of conviviality where the time of the tasting gradually allows the harmonization and the revelation of the excellence of the two products. In light of these harmonies, other pairings are possible through older wines, more vinous or aged in wood for example.

 

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