Pairing: Brandade de Morue Paired with a NV Lucien Albrecht Crément D’Alsace Brut Rosé
Food: For 500 years, Salt Cod has played an integral role in the migration, settlement and economies of the countries whose coastlines border the North Atlantic, including Portugal, Spain, Norway, Iceland, and Newfoundland. Drying fish to preserve it can be traced back to the 9th Century. Cod, however, has a high water content. That reality combined with the humid wet weather of Newfoundland that made it unsuitable for drying was the catalyst for salting to remove much of the moisture in the fish, then drying it. The development of this process was the birth of the salt cod industry about 500 years ago. Although the development of refrigeration aboard steamships in the early 20th Century drastically reduced the demand for salt cod.
In France, salt cod is the principal element, the centerpiece, of Brandade de Morue, which is often served as an appetizer or first course, but here we enjoy it as a light dinner meal. The dishé combines well-rinsed salt cod, mashed potatoes, olive oil, cream, garlic, thyme, bay, cloves, and pepper. The Brandade is most often served spread on fresh slices of baguette as an appetizer. But here we have spread it over sliced tomato and basil, accompanied by rye crisps, as light summer fare.
Wine: Many people mistakenly refer to any sparkling wine as Champagne. Still others think any sparkling wine that is made in France is Champagne. Well, we’re getting closer. The fact of the matter is that a sparkling wine produced only in the wine region of Champagne can legally be labelled Champagne. It can only be made using Pinot Noir, Chardonnay or Pinot Meunier grapes. And … it can be produced only by employing the technique called méthode champenoise (or traditional). So, for a sparkling wine to be called Champagne, three conditions must be met … (1) location = only from the Champagne wine region, (2) grapes = only Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and/ or Pinot Meunier, and (3) winemaking technique = only méthode champenoise. But … there is another sparkling wine made in France that is not widely known outside of France. And … it is becoming more and more available in a growing number of countries. The wine … Crémant.
Crémant is a sparkling wine made anywhere in France, except in Champagne. Indeed, it is made in eight different French wine regions, still utilizing the méthode traditionnelle to create it, and using only grapes specific to each of eight regions. For this meal, we have selected Crémant d’Alsace – Brut Rosé, the sparkling wine that comes from the Alsace wine region. AOC regulations in that region demand that the Rosé from Alsace can be made from only 100% Pinot Noir grapes.
Tasting Notes: What an amazing color … somewhere between a pink and a copper. Very persistent bubbles. Aroma of strawberry scones fresh out of the oven. Many “sparklers” have a nose best described as “yeasty” or “biscuity”. This wine has the more refined fragrance (in my mind) of scones. Strawberry flavors really emerge on the palate. And the bubbles make the strawberries dance in your mouth. Despite the preponderance of strawberry, this is a dry wine, not at all sweet. Maybe a hint of apple, too. A wonderful pairing! Couldn’t have a better companion for the salt cod in the brandade. And did I mention that Crémant is much less expensive than Champagne? Less than $20!
Other Wines That Pair Well with Brandade de Morue: Albarino (Spain), Rosé (Provence), Roussanne (Rhone, France), Chablis (Burgundy, France)
Other Food That Pairs Well with Cremant d’Alsace: Roast or Grilled Lamb (cooked medium rare), Strawberries, Grilled Salmon, Lobster
Maps and Views of Alsace Wine Region: Alsace Wine Region
A Source: www.klwines.com