Last Saturday, I was thrilled to attend Crystal Springs’ Vintage Champagne dinner held in the gorgeous wine cellar room. For those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to tour the cellar at Crystal Springs, there are complimentary daily tours given at 3 p.m., which I’ve documented in a prior post and are impressive.
The intimate event was hosted by Robby Younes, Wine Director, Susanne Lerescu, Sommelier at Crystal Springs, and Laura Maniec, Master Sommelier and CEO of CorkBuzz in Manhattan. Maniec is one of about 200 Master Sommeliers in the world and provided informative insight on each Champagne, its producer and various details about the wine-making process. It was a treat to learn from such an esteemed member of the wine community.
The Champagnes being vintage meant that each was made from the very best grapes available from the very best growing seasons. Many of the Champagnes we sampled are unavailable for sale anywhere in the world and a true privilege for the guests to sample. The menu and champagne pairings were:
2004 Henri Goutorbe Special Club
Shooting Point Oysters, Champagne Glazed, Trio of Caviar
2002 Ruinart Blanc de Blancs, Brut
Beet Cured Arctic Char, Pickled Fennel, Micro Radish Salad, Prosecco Vinaigrette
2004 Billecart Salmon Reserve, Brut
Golden Nugget Wrapped Rabbit Loin, Parsnip Purée, Brussels Sprout Leaves, Cranberry Gastrique
1997 Perrier-Jouёt Fleur de Champagne, Rosé
Kir Royal Sorbet, Chardonnay Pearls
Veal Tenderloin, Fall Squash Raviolo, Braised Cheeks, Crones, Red Dragon Carrot Essence
1996 Moёt & Chandon Dom Perignon
Trio of Pear, Financier, Terrine, Semifredo
1995 Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill
While we joked that picking a favorite Champagne was along the lines to picking a favorite child, the 1997 Perrier-Jouёt Fleur de Champagne, Rosé and the 1995 Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill stood out among the incredible lineup.
The food was masterly-prepared by Executive Chef Tim Fischer and paired beautifully with the Champagnes that were poured. Since I mentioned Champagne favorites, it would only be fair for me to select a couple of Chef Fischer’s stellar dishes: the arctic char presented over a Himalayan salt block was simply-dressed and outstanding. The lamb loin was cooked to perfection and was contrasted nicely by the tart cranberry gastrique.
If you’ve not attended an event at Crystal Springs or haven’t had the opportunity to dine at Restaurant Latour, review the events calendar and make your way to the grande dame (pun intended) of resorts in the picturesque mountains of Sussex county.
Crystal Springs Country Club
1 Wild Turkey Way, Hamburg
Veronique Deblois is a food and wine blogger based in Morris County. As the author of the popular blog, Food & Wine Chickie Insider, Veronique shares recipes, wine and restaurant reviews. Follow Veronique on Twitter or like her Facebook page.