Didier Gimonnet recently came to London to spend a day with the Armit Wines team and it’s safe to say he was a hit with us all. The afternoon consisted of a very pleasurable lunch at Bubbledogs followed by a privileged in-house tasting of Gimonnet’s Champagne presented by the man himself.
Bubble Dogs was the chosen venue for lunch due to the restaurant's focus on producer based Champagnes. Restaurant Manager Sandia Chang and Head Chef James Knappett both have a passion for food and wine pairings making this the ideal place to eat and taste some exquisite champagne.
The restaurant is known for making gourmet hot dogs and at first glance this was apparent. We were then taken behind the leather curtain which revealed The Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs; a magnificent place to dine. A massive bar counter formed the perimeter of the kitchen allowing the diner to catch front row seats of the chefs at work.
We started with a snack of crispy chicken skin and delicious berry chutney. This was matched with the Gimonnet Cuvée Rosé de Blancs 1er Cru. Together this pair formed a nice refreshing start to the meal, with the Rosé providing a complimentary light touch with an excellent balance of acidity and minerality.
The next course was followed by purple sprouting broccoli with Dorset crab covered in lemon juice and crème fraiche. This dish complimented the Gimonnet Brut Gastronome 2008 perfectly because of its subtlety and acidity integrating with the richness of the crab. Truly a match made in heaven!
The main course consisted of chicken with chicken heart and celeriac. The celeriac was over roasted in a salt crust giving it the appearance of a loaf of bread. Once cut open, it revealed a beautifully moist celeriac which went all too well with the Gimonnet Extra-Brut Oenophile 2005. This wine showed mature characteristics and complexity which had enough intensity and body to stand up to the chicken.
Dessert was a delightful pear cake topped with liquorice ice cream paired with the Gimonnet Fleuron 2006 Brut 1er Cru which made this combination a spicy delight. The Fleuron has slight notes of fennel and spice which complimented the liquorice perfectly and together was balanced by the sweet tones of ripe pear.
After lunch, Didier came to the office to show his exceptional champagne to the rest of the Armit team. This was a fantastic experience as he had a very positive and approachable presence. His passion for Champagne is clear to see, making him not just a great ambassador for Gimonnet but the region of Champagne as a whole. He talked about how the blending of different terroirs and vintages in the region is what makes great Champagne. On the specific topic of Gimonnet Champagne he talks about finding balance, freshness and mouth feel whilst still maintaining a good level of acidity and minerality which is the backbone Gimonnet wines. He also talks about his wines containing a low dosage of sugar to avoid a long sweet finish and maintain freshness.
Overall it was an absolute pleasure to dine with Gimonnet and breath of fresh air to listen to someone talk about their wine with so much passion. A great success!!
Blog by Aschwin Vachher