The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2016

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Page 28 of 132

28  /  the tasting panel  /  april 2016 EVENT WRAP-UP A Bubbly Affair PIPER-HEIDSIECK CHAMPAGNE IS THE STAR OF THE 88TH ACADEMY AWARDS by Jesse Hom-Dawson F amous actors and actresses, stunning designer gowns and food created by Chef Wolfgang Puck himself: The Academy Awards is the most glamorous and elegant event all year. With such prestigious company, it's fitting that Piper-Heidsieck would be the exclusive Champagne of the Oscars, serving three of their Prestige Cuvée vintages at the Oscar's post-celebration, the Governors Ball, as well as a limited-edition Cuvée Brut. Created in 1785, Piper-Heidsieck is one of France's oldest Champagne houses and is currently overseen by venerable winemaker Régis Camus. A couple of weeks before the Academy Awards ceremony, The Tasting Panel sat down for a lunch with Benoit Collard, Piper-Heidsieck's Global Executive Director, at Wolfgang Puck's flagship restaurant and Beverly Hills landmark Spago for a sampling of three Champagnes—the "Red Carpet Ready" Cuvée Brut, the 1998 Prestige Cuvée Rare and the 2002 Prestige Cuvée Rare—that would be poured at the Governors Ball (the fourth Champagne at the Oscars would be the 1988 Prestige Cuvée Rare). Our first course was a burrata and prosciutto salad, served with the Red Carpet Ready Cuvée Brut, a 1,000-bottle limited-edi- tion Pinot Noir–focused blend that would be poured exclusively at the Oscars. The toasty, citrus-finished champagne was an excellent contrast to the creamy cheese and salty cured meat. Our second course was a rye-crusted loup de mer, served with Maine lobster and sauce Américaine, paired with the Cuvée Rare 2002. A personal favorite, the 2002, featuring 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims region, was struc- tured and full-bodied, exuding a nose of delicate, exotic tropical fruits and notes of toasted brioche. The third course was a delicate and architectural raspberry panna cotta, with white chocolate and lychee Champagne gelée, served with the 1998. An apt pairing for dessert, the 1998, produced exclusively in magnums, was fruity and smooth, with creamy notes of hazelnut and gingerbread. The gorgeously etched gold Piper-Heidsieck bottles evoked images of the iconic Oscar statuette, and it was clear that no matter which actor, actress or film came out on top at the Academy Awards, Piper-Heidsieck would be a clear winner. PHOTOS COURTESY OF PIPER-HEIDSIECK Benoit Collard, Piper-Heidsieck's Global Executive Director, at Spago in Beverly Hills, CA.

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