A Sushi Experiment!

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I love grabbing some sushi to go and drinking Champagne on a Tuesday night. Most luxurious things in this world involve a lot of ritual, and are worth it; making fresh blini for caviar or dressing up for fine dining for example, but grabbing sushi on the way home is an easy treat. Some Tuesdays call for that.

Cinnamon and I wanted to experiment with rosé Champagne and sushi, something we had not done before, and we found a great match in the 2013 Louis Roederer Brut Rosé. This Champagne is composed of 63% Pinot Noir and 37% Chardonnay, and is made using an infusion technique that is unique to Champagne Louis Roederer. Like all of the vintage Champagnes from Roederer, this wine is entirely estate, and the plots that historically have been used for the rosé are farmed specifically with that end in mind. For the Pinot Noir, Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon has selected the south facing, premier cru amphitheater vineyard of Cumières. This is a village renowned for its red wines and rosés, as it has a very steep, south facing exposition, and sits directly on the Marne river. All the Pinot Noir is macerated with its skins, but with an addition of Chardonnay juice to moderate the extraction of color and to strip out the tannin. The Chardonnay is sourced from north facing sites in the grand cru of Chouilly, at the very top of the Cote des Blancs.

The results are fantastic. The 2013 vintage was a late one in Champagne, with some producers not finishing until the beginning of the second week of October. The great acidity of this cool vintage tempers the ripe power of the Cumières Pinot Noir in this Champagne. I love the coppery, pale rose color of the wine and the tart cherry flavor of the Pinot Noir. This wine has a very nice baguette toast frame, fine, compact streamers and a fabulous, long, mineral driven finish. It is on the back end that I really taste the Chardonnay, it is clean, dry and refreshing, with persistence that one would expect only from a famous vintage.

The pairing with the sushi was better than even my high expectations. Because the wine is so high toned, it cut the rich rolls and had great synergy with the spicy tuna. I think that a heavier style of rosé might not have worked with the spice. In many ways, it performed like a blanc de blancs, my first choice for sushi, but with the advantage of having great red cherry fruit to go with the tuna. This is a pairing that I can’t wait to repeat!

A toast to you!

Gary Westby

Gary Westby