Brut Champagne, the most popular style in Champagne and among sparkling wines in general, is a dry style, but not as dry as Extra Brut (photos #1, #2, and #4 © Champagne Bureau | Facebook).
 Rosé Champagne is a delight with any course, and pairs well with fruit-based desserts.
 Blanc de Blancs Champagne, is a perfect pairing with seafood. The crème de la crème of Blanc de Blancs is Taittinger Comptes de Champagne (photos #3 and #5 © Champagne Taittinger).
 Salty snacks, cheeses, charcuterie, and other nibbles are delicious with an Extra Brut Champagne, the driest style.
 Rose Champagne is delicious with fruit desserts.
Have you ever considered serving Champagne with barbecue? Neither did we, until the Champagne Bureau U.S. sent us the following suggestion for a Memorial Day celebration. Your crowd may prefer beer or a hearty red wine with barbecue (Barolo, Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec Shiraz, Zinfandel).
But if you’d like to try something different, take a look at these suggestions.
Champagne pairs perfectly with grilling, says the Champagne Bureau, which is the official site of the Comité Champagne. This trade association represents all the grape growers and houses [producers] in the Champagne region of France.
We must note that while Champagne is the crème de la crème of sparkling wines, if it’s not in your budget, you can use less pricy bubbly. Check out our list of affordable sparkling wines.
CHAMPAGNE & BARBECUE PAIRINGS
Champagne and other sparklers offer a diversity of styles that can be paired with a barbecue menu.
For pre-barbecue snacking, potato chips are an unusual yet perfect pairing with an Extra Brut Champagne. Extra Brut is the driest style, and pairs well with other salty foods as well—from charcuterie to olives and popcorn.
For the main course, barbecue ribs, brisket, and other smoked and grilled meats pair wonderfully with a vintage or nonvintage Brut Champagne. Brut is the most common type of sparkling wine in the world. Brut can have up to 12 g/L of residual sugar but will taste completely dry to most palates. The sugar gives the wine a bit of weight rather than sweetness. While Brut can go with just about anything, it is great with salty foods. Try it with fried chicken as well as barbecue chicken. A Brut Champagne can be made from all white grapes, all black [red‡] grapes, or a combination of both.
With grilled seafood—fish, scallops, shrimp—pair a Blanc de Blancs Champagne. Meaning “white from white” (i.e., white wine from white grapes), a typical Blanc de Blancs is made entirely from Chardonnay grapes. The style tends to be lighter and drier than Blanc de Noirs, “white from black” (i.e., white wine from black [red] grapes†, which in Champagne are typically Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier).
For dessert, a Rosé† Champagne goes nicely with fruit salad or fruit pie. A sweeter style of Champagne, such as demi-sec* or sec, is also delicious. Of course, Rosé Champagne is delicious with just about everything.
FREE ONLINE CHAMPAGNE COURSE
If you’d like to learn more about Champagne, you can take the Champagne Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) at your convenience.
Study at your own pace, 24/7. The classic version is free and is packed with almost 5 hours of pairing tips and other fascinating facts about the Champagne region and its wines.
How long is it? The total course runs for less than 5 hours and covers:
The Champagne-making process
The Champagne terroir
History and economy of Champagne
Diversity and tasting
Each of these four modules includes videos, texts, and illustrative content to make learning easier.
Thanks to the 16,200 growers and 360 houses in Champagne that produce such wonderful wines, beloved the world over.
GREAT ARTICLES FROM THE NIBBLE
> The 6 styles of champagne: Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs, Non-Vintage, Prestige Cuvée, Rosé, Vintage.
> The 7 levels of sweetness: Brut Nature, Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, Dry, Demi-Sec, Doux.
*Although “demi-sec” translates to “half dry” in French, it actually means that it is half as dry as doux, the French word for sweet.
†By pressing these red grapes very gently, and removing the skins quickly after pressing, the wine retains its white color. The grape juice is naturally white. Red wine is created by allowing the skins to remain in contact with the juice, imparting their red color. To make a rosé wine, the skins are left for a much shorter time.
‡While the wine they produce is red in color, most of the grape varieties’ skins are black with red or blue hues. Thus, the industry refers to them as black grapes. It is also proper to refer to them as red wine grapes, because they make red wine!
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