As I mentioned last week, Boca Bacchanal, the premier wine and food event in Palm Beach County, took place this past weekend. I am happy to report it was a resounding success! In an attempt to perpetuate the Boca Bacchanal buzz (**sigh** it's hard to believe it's over), I'll continue to highlight wines of the remaining Vintners we had the privilege of enjoying, paired with the recipes of "Savor the Moment." One of the participating Vintners at the Vintner Dinner Steve and I attended Friday night was Champagne Taittinger.
Located in Reims, France the Taittinger Estate is one of the three most extensive in the Champagne district. Champagne Taittinger is proprietor of approximately 752 acres of vines, and the firm's major holdings in Chardonnay vineyards are representative of the Taittinger philosophy and style. The cellars are situated in the underground caves or crayères once belonging to the 13th century Abbey of Saint-Nicaise. Champagne Taittinger was represented at Boca Bacchanal by the delightful Clovis Taittinger, son of Pierre Emmanuel Taittinger, President of Champagne Taittinger. Clovis also served as Boca Bacchanal's Honorary Wine Chairman this year. As a big fan of Champagne, it was a pleasure meeting him and having the opportunity to try a variety of his fabulous cuvées...more about that in the next post.
The weekend prior to the event, Steve and I enjoyed a fabulous bottle of the Taittinger Brut La Française with Florida Stone Crabs and a delicious Mustard Sauce (pg. 74) from "Savor the Moment." If you are a fan of Stone Crabs, you are probably aware that every establishment or seafood market has its own recipe or signature "mustard sauce." Some have more mustard; some, more mayonnaise and some are kind of sweet. The recipe from "Savor the Moment" falls into the sweet category due to the addition of brown sugar. It had nice flavor to it but, personally, I prefer the more mustardy, spicy sauces. We served the crabs with a "modified" Wedge Salad consisting of Iceberg lettuce, beautiful juicy, red, ripe tomatoes and creamy blue cheese dressing.
Regardless of which type of sauce you prefer, the Champagne was a wonderful pairing! Taittinger Brut La Française is produced from select Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes grown in specific microclimates of the Champagne region. These three varietals are important to the blend for different, but important reasons: Pinot Noir lends the finished blend body, structure, power and elegant red berry aromas typical of the variety; Pinot Meunier provides a supple, round fruitiness to the wine; Chardonnay adds elegance, finesse, crispness and delicacy, as well as structure and longevity. Taittinger's reliance on the Chardonnay grape for this cuvée, which approximates 40 percent of the finished wine, or over twice the percentage of Chardonnay used in the standard cuvées of most champagne houses, is indicative of the dedication to quality and overall refinement of the Taittinger style. Upon popping the cork, the Taittinger Brut La Française had lovely aromas of toasted brioche and lemon followed by delicious flavors of pear, apple tarte tatin and a hint of key lime pie. In addition to the flavors, the clean, crisp acidity made it a wonderful pairing for the Stone Crabs with Mustard Sauce. Whether you're a longtime fan or have never tried Florida Stone Crabs, I highly recommend you give this pairing a try! To get you started here's the Mustard Sauce recipe:
Combine 1/2 cup brown mustard, 1 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons dry sherry, and 1 teaspoon dry mustard in a bowl and mix well. Chill for 1 hour to 4 days before serving.
Hope you enjoy - Cheers!
***Wines for this blog kindly provided by National Republic Distributing Company, a presenting sponsor of the 2010 Boca Bacchanal.