Krug and Mushrooms

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Last night, I was lucky enough to host Richard Beaumont, Krug Champagne’s US director for dinner at my home. Cinnamon and I cooked, and he was kind enough to bring the wines- and what a lineup he brought! Krug, as fantastic as it is as an aperitif, truly comes alive when paired with food. Local, fresh Chanterelle mushrooms are back in northern California after our first fall rains, and we started off with an onion and mushroom tart with the Krug "Grande Cuvée" 164 Ème Édition Brut Champagne. The youngest wine in this blend is 2008, and the reserves go all the way back to 1990.

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It was fantastic with the rich tart, and the savor of the Chanterelle matched perfectly with the subtle umami of the Krug. We found out from Mr. Beaumont that Krug picks a single ingredient each year to pair with their Champagne, and works with chefs across the world promoting the pairing. This year the ingredient is the mushroom. We were happy to have it on the menu for him! You can learn more about this super interesting program here:

We served cold foie gras with brioche toast, fleur de sel and pepper with the incomparable 2000 Krug "Clos d'Ambonnay" Brut Champagne. We are working on getting a small allocation of this, the most expensive Champagne in the world, and let me say that it didn’t disappoint. This 100% Pinot Noir Blanc de Noir comes from the mid slope of the Grand Cru of Ambonnay, from a tiny walled vineyard. Less than 6000 bottles were produced. It was shocking how pure of an expression of black cherry Pinot power this profound wine delivered, while at the same having the chalky cut of the brightest of Champagnes. I hope we can get a bottle or two to sell! For our main course, we paired the Krug Brut Rosé Champagne with cofit duck legs on a bed of local salad greens. I thought this was the most successful pairing of all, and the biggest surprise. Usually, we drink red Burgundy with duck confit, and I thought that the Champagne would be too light. How wrong could I be!

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While the rose was still bright and refreshing, it had effortless dark fruit power that meshed fabulously with the meat. We had an opportunity to talk some business, and it looks like a second shot of the 2004 Krug Brut Champagne will be coming our way soon. I would recommend getting on the waiting list if you want some, as the first twelve cases we received lasted only a couple of days. This was a dinner that I won’t soon forget. Thank you Mr. Beaumont and thank you Champagne Krug!

-Gary Westby

Gary Westby