Stéphane Coquillette Les Clés à Chouilly Champagne
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Featured Recipe Pairing
Salmon Tartare with Crème Fraîche and Salmon Roe
King, or chinook, salmon is considered one of the tastiest species of the fish. Though wonderful grilled, this prized high-fat specimen makes a richly flavorful tartare. Wild salmon is preferable, but if it’s unavailable or not in season, use farmed.
The majority of Champagne’s wines are made by large producers who buy grapes from thousands of small growers. At the opposite end of the scale are tiny grower-producers (récoltants-manipulants) whose wines reflect the qualities of the small plots of land they farm. In Stéphane Coquillette’s case, the land is located in the grand cru village of Chouilly, in the Cote des Blancs. Like nearly all of Champagne’s greatest sites, Coquillette’s vineyards are planted on pure limestone, the remnant of an ancient seabed. This rock gives the region’s sparkling wines their minerally intensity. Coquillette makes this cuvee from a single vineyard, Les Cles, planted to Pinot Noir. By draining the grapes’ clear juice from their skins as soon as the fruit is crushed, he creates a classic blanc de noir—a white wine made from red grapes. This nonvintage cuvee, a blend of several years’ wines, shows the benefit of Coquillette’s intense hands-on attention.
The nose offers up delicate aromas of fresh cream and crushed stones, with
a light citrus edge.
White raspberry, chalk and orange peel flavors finish with mineral and white
This Champagne is as versatile as it is effervescent. Rich enough to partner with substantial fare—lobster bisque, scallops in a butter sauce and lemon risotto, for example—it has a minerality and freshness that make it equally stunning as an aperitif with hors d’oeuvres or a first course. Try it with Roasted Oysters or Gougeres (recipes at williams-sonoma.com), or simply accompany it with smoked salmon, caviar, toast points and creme fraiche.
Serve well chilled: refrigerate the bottle for 45 minutes before serving.
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