Enjoy Afternoon Tea Week with Champagne
9th August 2023
With it being Afternoon Tea Week, the Champagne Bureau UK* wanted to share the best Champagne styles to go with your savoury and sweet treats.
Afternoon tea is one of the most quintessentially English customs – the concept was initiated by Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford and close friend of Queen Victoria, who wanted something small to tide her over before dinner. From this, the afternoon tea ritual was born, and Champagne is seen as a staple in this celebratory tradition.
The tradition of drinking Champagne to mark a celebration originated in the royal courts of Europe in the 18th century, where the drink was a social status symbol, associated with luxury and prestige.
The afternoon tea essential of a fresh scone slathered with strawberry jam and clotted cream is the perfect companion for the versatile Champagne style that is Rosé Champagne. Aromas around notes of freshness or complex wild berry fruit notes complement the sweetness of the strawberry jam. The combination is also beautifully aesthetic.
For your beautiful afternoon tea cakes and tarts opt for a sweeter Champagne such as a Sec or Demi-sec – a Champagne Sec contains 17-32 grams of sugar per litre and a Champagne Demi-Sec contains 32-50 grams of sugar per litre. The sweetness of these wines perfectly balances with desserts, especially those involving pistachio.
Blanc de Blancs
Blanc de Blancs Champagne, made exclusively from white grapes such as Chardonnay, is the ideal companion to all your favourite vegetarian picnic sandwiches. Blanc de Blancs is a bright, refreshing, and lively style that is all about finesse. Possessing notes of white flowers, citrus and exotic fruits, they are light to taste and will not overpower the humble sandwich. We would go with an egg mayonnaise and cress filling which is richer and creamier than most and would be the perfect Blanc de Blancs companion.
Blanc de Noirs
For a Champagne that can hold its own against the powerful flavours of coronation chicken or salami sandwiches, opt for a Blanc de Noirs style – it is sure to be an explosive pairing. Blanc de Noirs Champagnes are produced entirely from black grape varieties such as Pinot Noir or Meunier. Generally, they have more body than wines that include solely white grape varieties in their blend. As such, these Champagnes give the impression of power, density and structure and have what is known as ‘vinosity’ – the sensation of heat on the palate.
If you’re having afternoon tea for a celebratory occasion… choose a Vintage Champagne to add prestige and depth of flavour to a very special afternoon. A vintage Champagne can be of any style but comes from a specific harvest – to mark its characteristics, it will spend at least 36 months in the cellar and often a good deal longer. As such, these Champagnes have more pronounced aromas, such as undergrowth, gingerbread, dried fruit, coffee, cocoa, and raisins.
*Champagne Bureau UK is the trade association in the UK, representing houses and growers in Champagne.
Glass of Bubbly
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