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My colleagues and I have noticed a very unlikely trend this summer popping up in various publications and online – Champagnes with gourmet hot dogs! I have to admit, we were a bit skeptical, but we’re all huge bubbly fans and are never afraid to enjoy a good dog now and then. So we decided to try it out for ourselves here at the Sokolin offices. We wanted to look at Champagnes and sparkling wines of varying prices paired with some really creative and interesting dogs that we could quite easily replicate on our home (or office) grill. And with the end of summer fast-approaching what better way to close it out than by doing a killer tasting.
We were really surprised at how well the different qualities in the bubbly truly complimented the meaty, sometimes spicy and definitely unconventional toppings we chose. In the interest of full disclosure, we recreated these dishes from various sources after scouring restaurant menus from across the country. We were actually amazed at the number of gourmet hot dog joints we found.
It seems so surprising at first but Champagne is often over-looked as a dinner companion and a lot of people just don't realize how versatile it can be. This tasting turned us from skeptics into firm supporters of this mouthwatering combination. Here were the winners.
2007 Raventos i Blanc L'Hereu de Raventos i Blanc Cava
“Pale straw with a frothy mousse. Exotically perfumed bouquet of pear, orange, toasty lees and anise, along with a suave floral quality; smells like a white Burgundy Sappy orchard fruit flavors are complemented by honeysuckle and bitter orange pith, with a strong jolt of iodine. Impressively complex and powerful Cava with a long, smoky, mineral-driven finish.”
92 points - S. Tanzer
Paired with all natural Beef / Pork dog surrounded with kimchi and cheddar- topped with cabbage salad, romaine, onion, and cilantro sprigs- drizzled with Sriracha.
Staff Comments - "The complex & crisp Cava pairs amazingly well with the Kimchi and cabbage - flavor explosion!"
Schramsberg Brut Rosé North Coast Mirabelle
"A rosé with serious intentions, this has a delicate pink hue and floral strawberry and spicy yeast roll aromas. The flavors show good focus, offering raspberry, Gala apple, ginger and fig flavors."
93 Points - Wine Spectator
Paired with all natural Beef / Pork dog topped with spicy chili, sharp Wisconsin cheddar cheese, and sprinkled with crispy applewood smoked bacon.
Staff Comments - "This beautiful Rose bubbly matches the richness of the cheese and smokiness of the bacon....I'll have another please!"
Guy Charlemagne Reserve Blanc de Blancs
"...There is superb focus...and exceptional length...This is first-class juice all the way...made from grand cru vineyards in Oger and Mesnil-sur-Oge...Anticipated maturity: 2008-2011.”
92 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Paired with all natural Beef / Pork dog topped with sautéed spinach in white wine garlic and freshly shaved parmesan cheese.
Staff Comments - "Quite possibly our favorite pairing- The earthiness of the spinach with the bite from the parmesan cheese was pure satisfaction. Combine that with the Grand Cru bubbles of Guy Charlemagne and it's heavenly!"
Bollinger Special Cuvee
"Exudes honey, with richness and a supple texture. Peach, biscuit and dried orange peel notes add complexity, and the wine glides to a long, lingering aftertaste of honey and brioche. Drink now through 2012"
93 pts - Wine Spectator
Paired with Bratwurst topped with sautéed peppers, onions, beer smoked kraut & drizzled w/ chipotle mustard.
Staff Comments - "The powerful, yeasty, bready Bollinger held up great with the bold flavors in this Brat. The kraut though was the clincher for this tasty must-have pairing."
2002 Louis Roederer Cristal
"Seriously precocious nose with notes of apple blossom, fresh strawberries, clotted cream, cashews and lightly toasted hazelnuts plus a barely detectable hint of oak. Great concentration of apple crumble flavours with very fine bubbles and a crisp backbone of acid. Long creamy finish. Drink 2010 to 2029."
96+ Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Paired with apple chicken sausage stuffed with smoked gouda topped with mango/papaya slaw.
Staff Comments - "Elegance in the glass.... grilled perfection with the smokiness of the cheese matched with the sweetness from the tropical slaw. The nuttiness of the Cristal added another dimension of flavors - your mouth will be singing!"
"…shows tons of potential in its floral, white fruits. In a recent tasting of the 1979 Champagnes, the Salon was one of the finest wines, but it needed several hours of air to open up. Although the 1996 is pure magic in a glass, it remains a wine for the exceedingly patient"
97+ Points - R. Parker
Paired with rosemary, garlic lamb sausage & topped with fresh chopped tomatoes, romaine, and sprinkled feta cheese on top.
Staff Comments - "This regal offering will make your summer complete. The white fruits and minerals pair well with this savory Greek-inspired "dog." The plumpness of the tomatoes, combined with the saltiness of the feta, finish nicely with the sweet citrus fruits and hint of lime from the Salon. A zestful experience that will leave you wanting more of both!”