Choosing champagne for your wedding
There is no wedding without champagne, but choosing champagne for your wedding can be frustrating. You will probably be willing to accept whichever champagne your catering company or your wedding venue offer.
Yet, if you appreciate the product and willing to get to know it better, you shall probably choose champagne for your wedding on your own.
First, it is fun. You will visit cellars, champagne bars, you will get to talk to people who are highly experienced and who will help you to discover the passionate universe of champagne. Second, you will need two, perhaps even three different champagnes for different moments of your celebration. It is possible that you will order your brut from one producer, your rosé from another and your demi-sec from a third. Third, the brand(s) you will choose is likely to become The Brand for your family. You will keep ordering it for all important celebrations, and it will become the signature of your celebrations.
To prepare this post I have interviewed Simon Nominé, the owner of maison Nominé-Renard champagne, that I work with often and that I love having in my fridge.
Tell us about maison Nominé-Renard. How was it born?
The maison Nominé-Renard was established by my grandparents, André Nominé and Germaine Renard in the late 60ies. Vineries belonged to the Renard family since 1900s and were completed by new vineyards acquired by my grandparents.
Which grapes do you grow? What champagne do you produce with it?
We grow three main varieties of the vine of Champagne, which are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Recently, we have also planted Pinot Blanc, but we need to wait several more years to elaborate our first cuvée.
Our best-seller is Brut Nomine (aged 3 years). It is composed of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. This cuvée reflects our vineyard and assembles grapes from five villages.
Our Brut blanc de blancs is a pure chardonnay assembled using grapes from three plots for a perfect balance. It is matured for 5 years in the cellars, which gives our champagne its floral, citrus and slightly toasted hints.
The Brut Rosé is also a blend of three grapes, Chardonnay for freshness, Pinot Meunier for body and fruity hints, Pinot Noir for colour and hints of grapefruit and pomegranate.
For our cuvée Special Club, vintage champagne, we only use grapes from the best years, each wine is aged for 7 years. Every vintage is different and the blend reflects the quality of the grape harvest.
How to choose champagne for a wedding? What one shall take into consideration in the first place?
It remains personal, but I’d recommend choosing fresh and delicate champagne rather than a very strong one. Wedding is a celebration, fresh, fine and joyful moment. Brut Nomine and Brut Blanc de Blancs will match this occasion perfectly. These two champagnes are characterised by its freshness and delicacy.
What are the basic rules to follow when matching champagne with dishes? Which champagne to choose to accompany salty finger foods? And dessert?
It is crucial to respect the balance between acidity, sweetness and intensity of the dishes. Brut* champagne will match perfectly a salty cocktail. To accompany a dessert, a demi-sec** champagne will be a good choice. For red berry desserts, rosé brut champagne is a great fit.
*Brut champagne can contain up to 12 grams of sugar per litre
**Demi-sec champagne can contain between 32 and 50 grams per litre
100% Chardonnay champagnes are considered to be the best ones. Is it true?
Not necessarily, but it is true that old vintage champagnes are mostly 100% chardonnay. It is a variety of grape that brings a lot of freshness to champagne. It also allows the best wines to be stored for longer (note by Katerina, contrary to red wine, champagne is not getting better with years. When you purchase a bottle, it is ready to be consumed, don’t keep it more than a year or two. Vintage champagne, especially in magnum or even bigger bottles, can be stored for longer).
Champagne is a very diverse region and some villages offer 100% Pinot Noir or 100% Pinot Meunier of great quality and delicacy.
What are the core values of Nominé-Renard? What is your politics with regards to the environment and the local economy?
Our family is passionate and proud of the work realised by previous generations. We exploit our vineyards in a sustainable way and respect the soil. We ban insecticides, carefully nurture our grapes and favour organic viticulture when possible. Our aim is to stop completely all chemical weedkillers within next couple of years.
We adapt our processes and tools to reduce energy consumption. For instance, we use green bottles even for our rosé champagne, as its production requires less energy (it also protects champagne against the harmful light, note by Katerina). Our production is certified Haute Valeur Environnementale (trans. High environmental value, the highest of three possible levels of environmental certification in France)
How Nominé-Renard is different from bigger, famous worldwide, champagne brands?
Nominé-Renard is a family-run business. We are “récoltant manipulant”, which means that we elaborate our champagne using only our own grapes. Unlike bigger brands, we don’t purchase grapes or wine produced by other winegrowers. We produce around 100 000 bottles per year, whereas famous brands would produce several millions of bottles annually.
How would you describe the style of your champagnes?
Champagnes produced by Nominé-Renard are fresh, fruity and delicate. We are striving for elegance and respect for different varieties of grapes.
What are the addresses where Nomine-Renard champagne can be discovered?
You can try our champagne in various restaurants like Ai Fiori, Jean Gorges or Le Coucou in New York, Folie Lafayette and Tasting wine bar in Indiana, GT Prime, Pops for Champagne, BLVD in Chicago. You can also order them online.
It is a great idea to have a small event before the celebration, where you can taste different champagnes with your friends and family. You will share a special moment and they will help you to choose the champagne for your wedding day. A wise solution when you want to make your family participate in planning without loosing to much control!