For the next wine pairing, I chose a family of wines that is barely heard of outside France.
Everyone has heard of Champagne, the sparkling wine from the Champagne region to the east of Paris. A lot of people have heard of the other sparkling wines such as Prosecco and Asti... but very few people have heard of 'a Cremant.'
Thus, may I present: le Cremant de Alsace, by Arthur Metz.
This wine is made according to the "traditional method" i.e. exactly the same as a champagne, just that it's not from Champagne, but rather a few kilometres further down the road in the Alsace region. From the label, it looks pretty bog standard: brut prestige, non-vintage, but it won a couple of prizes in 2011. I found this bottle in my local Carrefour, for only 7 euros. A bargain if ever there was one!
It is an amazing wine. Drink it by itself, with food, diluted with orange juice or lemonade or with nothing and still drink it for breakfast if that's your thing. I could happily drink nothing but this for the next few months.
It was actually during this tasting that I realised for the first time that I make some pretty strange noises when I'm eating and drinking good food/drink.
The awesome Nikki Bayley first remarked upon it when we were at L'Assiette des Fromages together back in April. I got over-excited by the cheese fondue and started making coo-ing noises.
However, this was a new low (or high, depending on how you look at it.) To do this pairing and write my notes about it, I'd waited until my housemate was away so I could get the place to myself and be able to concentrate without too many distractions. However, what I didn't realise is how weird it must have sounded to my neighbours when/if they heard me cackling to myself. Yes, proper muahahaha cackling. That's what I was doing. Or rather, that's what this pairing of wine and cheese made me do because it's just so damn good! It took me beyond the point where I'm able to use words (where, if what I'm tasting good, I have a tendency to use swear words) to a place of unbridled happiness and I'm left speechless.
Therefore, to scrimp: Le Brique. You can find it for just a couple of euros in most supermarkets in the city. When paired with this wine, the taste changes completely and becomes something even greater than before. Try it.
Splash out: Eric Kayser's tarte au citron. Full stop. :)