Scratch a cliché and you usually find a bit of truth — like champagne with beluga caviar or oysters. Both pairings make sense the minute you taste the briny beauties with a glass of bubbly — but not just any bubbly. In summer, nothing tastes as refreshing with decadent seasonal seafood as well-chilled champagne — and we mean the only one — from the region by the same name in France. Maine lobster rolls, raw oysters, blinis with caviar, grilled sardines, and even humble fish and chips are smashing with champagne.
If you love the bubbles but don’t dig the fruit, then Laurent-Perrier’s Ultra Brut should be your bubbly of choice. This rare style of champagne is made by only a few producers and it’s a specialty of Laurent-Perrier. In 1889, Laurent-Perrier first pioneered a zero-dosage (which means the wine had zero grams of residual sugar per liter) style of champagne called Grand Vin Sans Sucre, which means without sugar, to satisfy British imbibers’ preference for a drier style of champagne. Back then, sweet champagnes were all the rage and Grand Vin Sans Sucre, which falls into the Brut Nature or Zéro Dosage category sold well until withdrawn from the market after World War I.
Inspired by the success of the zero-dosage style in 1889, Bernard de Nonancourt introduced the now trademarked Ultra Brut champagne in 1981. This wine has zero grams of residual sugar per liter and came about when an unusually hot summer in 1976 made it possible to harvest ripe fruit and create a flavorful wine without any residual sugar, or zero dosage.
For those who love the crisp, wet-stone flavors of a racy, aged chablis, the earthy notes of a fino sherry, or a zippy Sancerre — this style of champagne will suit your palate. Hints of just squeezed Myers lemon and yeasty bread dough fill the glass and the tongue lashing acidity will clean your taste buds after one sip.
Freshly shucked oysters, ceviche, and fish and chips are grand with Ultra Brut, but if you want to impress your friends with a luxe dish that’s easy to make and looks killer lined up a silver tray, serve them elegant Russian blinis. These tiny buckwheat pancakes are traditionally served topped with sour cream and a drop of beluga caviar, but they can be topped with mushrooms, thinly sliced smoked salmon, and a range of other fun ingredients as well. Add a small sprig of fresh dill and they are divine with Laurent-Perrier’s singular Ultra Brut. If you are in the mood for a chic party for a few friends, buy a few bottles of Ultra Brut online from Saratoga Wine Exchange or GetWineOnline.com.