In a war zone, the simplest of treats from home can make a normal day feel special. Take, for instance, a standard omelette from the dining facility at our Forward Operating Base on a Sunday morning, and add care package contents to include smoked salmon, capers, and black truffle salt and voilà! You have a feast fit for a death-row inmate’s last meal. If said inmate had access to wine to pair with said feast, then what should the inmate choose?
To balance the richness of the omelette toppings, a full-bodied sparkling rosé would brighten this Sunday brunch by an order of magnitude. The premier spot for such a sparkling wine in Italy is Lombardia. Here, the makers of Franciacorta use the metodo classico of producing their sparkling wines with a second fermentation in the bottle. They likewise utilize the preferred grapes of the champenois, primarily chardonnay and pinot nero. You will see the familiar designations to indicate the amount of sugar present from the dosage, going from most to none: brut, extra brut, or brut zero (also seen variably as pas dosè or brut nature). For the salmon, aim for the middle of the road with extra brut, or a brut if you prefer.
If you demand a red wine for your salmon omelette, consider a spätburgunder from Germany. Known more commonly in France and the New World as pinot noir, spätburgunder from cooler climate areas such as Germany tends to exhibit less cherry fruit at the fore, with more pronounced minerality and spice elements coming into play.
Complementary Pairing: Franciacorta Rosé, Lombardia, Italy
Try: Cà del Bosco Cuvée Annamaria Clementi Rosé (Extra Brut)
[www.cadelbosco.com] This is certainly one of the top producers of quality Franciacorta, and Annamaria Clementi is their tête de cuvée. The rosé version is all pinot nero and comes from macerating the juice with the skins for a day and a half, before being transferred to cask for the alcoholic and malolactic fermentations. It then spends seven years on the lees before dégorgement.
Contrasting Pairing: Spätburgunder, Mosel, Germany
Try: Markus Molitor Graacher Himmelreich Pinot Noir
[www.markusmolitor.com] Just to keep things confusing, we have the traditional French name of the varietal on the label, but this is pure Mosel spätburgunder. From slopes of iron-rich slate, the wine spends over a year in barrique to produce mineral undertones overlaid by cocoa and white pepper, with a bit of cherry on top for good measure.