Moët & Chandon's Winemaker Teaches Us How To Pair Fine Champagne With Malaysian Flavours
Marie-Christine Osselin, renowned champagne maker Moët & Chandon's oenologist, recently took a trip to Kuala Lumpur to give journalists a crash course on the winemaker's current line of wines and why they surprisingly pair well with our cuisine.
Malaysia Tatler was invited to modern Malaysian restaurant Beta KL for lunch to sample a degustation menu paired with five different champanges – Moët Imperial,, Moët Rosé Imperial, Moët Grand Vintage 2009, Moët Grand Vintage Rosé 2008, and Moët Ice Imperial.
After the meal, we spoke to Marie-Christine to learn a little more about why and how the maison's champagne played nice with local flavours.
After trying a variety of Malaysian flavours, what would you say works in the cuisine to bring together the qualities of champagne?
When you have champange you are not supposed to pair it with something complicated. You can have it with dishes that have high quality fresh ingredients but it should be kept simple.
Malaysian flavours are very bold, how does this affect the pairing process with Moët & Chandon champagne?
Champagne is a very precise wine. If you want to have a dish with a strong presence and flavours, you're better off pairing your dish with a rosé. If you want to pair your food with a white wine, it would be better to avoid foods that are too spicy, sweet or sour. For example, fresh seafood like oyster or sashimi would be perfect for Moët Imperial.
Would you mind sharing your insight as an oenologist as to why pairing Malaysian food with Moët & Chandon's Rosé works?
Our rosé wines are perfect for Malaysian cuisine because you have the structure from the red wine that permits you to pair it with spicy foods. I think it's a better match.
Are there any rules we shouldn't break when it comes to pairing champagne with food?
If you have a brut or an extra brut, pair it with salty dishes. You have to link your dish and your champagne to colours. Many ingredients that have similar colours will pair well with the corresponding champagne.
For example, with Moët Imperial Blanc or with the Grand Vintage, you can go with many white and yellow ingredients. For the rosé, you can go with many red and orange ingredients and spices.
When we blend a grand vintage, we want to show you something special about that year, 2008 was very cool while 2009 was very mature and generous. With the 2009, I would pair it with bolder dishes or fruits that are juicy. With the 2008 rosé, I would focus on something fresh with acidity because 2008 was a cold year, meaning a higher acidity in the blend.
What makes the champagnes we’ve tried today appetising to our palate?
For the Moët Imperial, Moët Rosé Imperial, and Moët Ice Imperial, it's made to please the most people as it can. They are made of grapes and wines that are selected to appeal to most palates. The first pillar of the Moët style is fruitiness, and we have chosen this flavour because it's the easiest to understand. Everyone enjoys fruitiness because it's natural.
For someone who wants more personality in their champange, we have the grand vintage range. With this range, you can dive further in a certain expression of the Moët through a particular year.