Champagne is perceived to a be a kind of drink for celebration of some important event. In my home country Ukraine it`s a tradition to open a bottle of champagne during the New Year celebration, when the clock is hitting midnight and the new year starts, despite of that the traditional drinks for the table are vodka, cognac or whiskey.
Champagne is type of drink produced under certain rules from grapes grown in Champagne region of France only. It is very common that people call any sparkling wine as a champagne, simply because it is the same style carbonated. But it is not correct and basically illegal. Especially in my country we call the locally produced sparkling wines of quite low quality as “champagne”. The most famous and popular is “Sovetskoe Shampanskoe (Soviet Union Champagne) ” :).
I`m not really a bubbly lover. I used to like more strong spirits while living in Ukraine – probably because a half of the year it is cold and dark there. But after coming to Dubai my references have turned more to wines. The signification of a good wine for me are in two points – single grape in the bottle and no headache in the morning :).
My favorite red wine is Kanonkop Pinotage – 100% Pinotage from Simonsberg, Stellenbosch, South Africa. Its very mild and a bit fruity. I like it with red meat and hard cheeses.
As for the white wine – definitely the leader is Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand. The tasting notes are hints of citrus-grapefruit-lime, very light and smooth. I prefer to pair it with seafood or fruits. Its a vintage wine, which means that the grapes for it were grown and harvested the same year and in the same vineyard. The opposite and more common style of wine production is non-vintage, which means a blend of grapes from different years of harvest in order to sustain the same consistency of a wine year after year.
But the launch of my blog your are currently reading, we allowed ourselves to celebrate with a bottle of champagne.
I don’t think it is possible to find the Soviet Union Champagne here in UAE :), so we went to La Petite Maison, French restaurant in Dubai International Financial Center, where we shared a bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal 2007, a French vintage champagne.
The story of this grape goes back to the beginning of the 19th century, when it started to be produced in France solely for the consumption by the Russian Tsar family. The signature design features the clear bottle with a flat bottom, which was created to gratify the special order of the Tsar. The technology of production includes aging in cellars for 6 years. The grape is a mix of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, which gives a super smooth taste with a fruity touch. Cristal has been mentioned as a favorite champagne of American rap-stars. Probably mine as well.
For lunch we have ordered not really a French dish, but the one you can not go wrong with – a lobster risotto. It was yummy, and with a beautiful serving.
The champagne was so good, that I forgot to make the pictures of the restaurant itself. Will do it next time, I promise.
Overall experience: La Petite Maison is always a great idea to visit. It is airy, light, with great food, and always very busy. So its better to make a reservation in a advance. The atmosphere is on the highest level, but not that chick and posh as it could be in DIFC`s fine dining venues. Cuisine is stated as French, but has a lot of Italian dishes, which is good actually.
Recommended: lunch, romantic dinner, business meeting.