Wine Wisdom: A Toast to Champagne

James Beard Foundation interview with Pascal Boyé of Nicolas Feuillatte

We asked Pascal Boyé, director of Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte sales in the Americas, to tell us what to eat with Champagne and why we should be drinking more of it.

James Beard Foundation: What’s your favorite Champagne from the Nicolas Feuillatte range?

Pascal Boyé: It sounds silly, but they are like my children and I love them all. However, I have to say my favorite is the Blanc de Blancs, which is made only with Chardonnay grapes. I love how crisp, fresh, and minty it is. It’s just fantastic.

JBF: What do you like to eat with Champagne?

PB: It depends on what’s being served. I enjoy Brut Champagne with sushi, Rosé with red meat, a Blanc de Blancs with white fish, and our Palmes d’Or Rosé, a vintage Champagne, with dessert.

JBF: It can be difficult to market Champagne to Americans because they tend to think it should only be enjoyed during celebrations. How do you convince them to drink more Champagne?

PB: We have them drink Champagne with food! We host lots of winemaker dinners, where we show people that Champagne is meant to be consumed with food just like any other wine. It has a rather high acidity, which makes it a great pairing with many kinds of dishes. It’s actually one of the few wines in the world that goes with almost anything.

JBF: We recently read about terroir-driven Champagnes, which are made from a single vintage of grapes from one location, as opposed to the traditional blend of grapes collected from different locations and harvests. What do you think of this trend?

PB: Nicolas Feuillatte may be a big Champagne house, but we actually have a very special vintage Champagne called Cuvée 225, which takes its name from the size of the oak barrels it ferments in. We gather the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes from certain vineyards of ours that are very expressive. Playing with vintage Champagne is a great way to educate consumers about the wine’s different personalities.

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