If one word could be used to describe the classic flavor profile and Art Deco style of Champagne Collet it would be grace. In the world of wine and gastronomy, trends may come and go, but there will always be a place for a fine champagne house like Champagne Collet that crafts cuvees in the Traditional Method using Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. The Collective sources grapes from Grands Cru and Premier vineyards and employs refined techniques that they have continuously refined and perfected over the course of their almost century long existence to produce their Champagnes. Founded in 1921, Champagne Collet was formed in conjunction with the oldest cooperative in Champagne, the Cooperative Generale des Vignerons de Champagne ( COGEVI ). Champagne Collet also founded La Cite du Champagne Collet COGEVI ( housing La Maison COGEVI and La Villa Collet ), a historic and cultural complex devoted to Art Deco design. As an example of its dedication to food and wine, Champagne Collet also created and bestows an annual culinary cookbook award of excellence, Le Prix Champagne Collet du Livre de Chef, to the best chef’s cookbook determined by a carefully selected panel of food and wine professionals and chefs. Old Bride Cellars is the national importer for Champagne Collet and happily for us we can find it in New York City.
Champagne Collet, with Sébastien Walasiak, Chef de Caves of Champagne Collet, welcomed Spring in New York City, at Ai Fiori Restaurant in New York City on April 4, 2017, and the pairing of Michael White’s artfully executed, modern renditions of French and Italian cuisine with five Champagne Collet cuvees demonstrated that classic champagne can and should be served not only as a celebratory indulgence or as an elegant apertif, but also as complements to a fine meal.
A champagne reception started things off on the right note; A fresh and crisp Champagne Collet Brut Art Deco consisting of 40% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier and aged for 4+ years in century old concrete cellars ( like all the cuvees in the Champagne Collet collection that were showcased on this occasion ) presented with a fine and persistent effervescence, notes of lemon, orange, almond and toast, followed by a mint accented finish was paired with various hors d’oeuvres ranging from steak tartare to arancini, highlighting the versatility of this classic style Champagne.
A Champagne Collet Blanc de Blancs N.V. followed and it was accompanied by a delicately rendered antipasto of fluke crudo topped with American sturgeon caviar in a subtly citrus Meyer lemon sauce. This cuvee, made with 100% Chardonnay and aged for five years was pure and balanced with grapefruit, citrus and subtle chamomile notes and a soft elegant finish was a beautiful complement to the artfully presented dish.
A Champagne Collet Brut Vintage 2006 Collection Privee’ comprised of 66% Chardonnay and 34% Pinot Noir ( 64% of which was aged in Champagne region sourced oak barrels ) was a perfect balance of complexity and elegance with fresh fruit, nutty and toasty notes; the oak aging showed through in the form of a slight vanilla and butter creaminess. A trofie Nero, or Ligurian style spiral shaped pasta in a crustacean ragout, seppia, scallops and spiced mollica had the mild savoriness and concentrated seafood flavors to seamlessly complement this distinctive cuvee’.
A Champagne Collet Esprit Couture N.V. consisting of 40% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Meunier derived from Premier and Grand Cru’s and aged for a minimum of 7 years ( this particular one was aged for 11 years ) represented the apex of the collection in elegance and complexity showcased on this occasion. The rich and persistent mousse coupled with flower and vanilla aromas, along with lemon, peach, apricot and almond notes of the cuvee had the weight and depth to balance the slightly pungent and inherently robust flavors of an herb crusted Australian rack of lamb served with tender sunchokes and rainbow chard.
A Champagne Collet Brut Rose’ Seduction with equal parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier with floral and citrus aromas and rich orchard fruit and strawberry as well as raspberry notes, brought a touch of color to the table. It complemented a beautifully presented, light and creamy panna cotta drizzled with a refreshing blood orange and pomegranate granite’. This final pairing was visually and palatably perfect and marked a satisfying end to a Champagne centered multi course meal proving that Champagne can take the lead at the celebratory and the dinner table alike.