Christmas duels: are you Sauternes or sake?



D’French luxury on one side, Japanese luxury on the other. Sauternes are made from botrytised grapes, a true little miracle of nature capable of producing a so-called noble rot, under very specific conditions of humidity and sunshine. Once installed on the grape berries, the botrytis absorbs the water and concentrates the sugars, allowing after harvest by successive sorting of overripe grapes, to obtain one of the greatest sweet wines in the world. For sakes, known in Japan for 2,000 years, it is a unique know-how that allows rice to be transformed into fermented drinks, a kind of non-carbonated beers to which water from local sources brings the signature of the land.

And in the glass? Two cultures of taste with accomplished refinement and yet at odds. “In the world of wine, we have a very important criterion which becomes a defect when tasting sake… the persistence in the mouth! A good sake is a short and dazzling finish… we look for the crystalline side of the water ”, laughs Xavier Thuizat, head sommelier at the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris, one of the greatest French specialists and international topics.

Surprising agreements

Alongside traditional sakes, relatively opulent, with notes of cereals, damp earth and undergrowth, modern sakes are characterized by the delicacy of their aromas. Although dry, all offer a relative sensation of softness and roundness, more present if the sake is served hot, and a character called « umami », the latest trendy flavor among tasters who can be defined by the term « tasty ». . The “classic” Sauternes are wines with marked sweetness and aromas of candied fruit, honey and spices, capable of aging for a very long time. Today they coexist with fresher and lighter-sugar vintages, which evoke exotic fruits and citrus fruits and are drunk rather young.

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Sauternes and sakes offer one of the widest palettes of pairings with dishes, often surprising and which renew the genre. It is even possible to reverse the roles at Christmas, by serving a sake with a semi-cooked foie gras and a sauternes on a gravlax of salmon and pomelo. Unexpected, we told you!

Our Christmas duels

Are you an oyster or a lobster?

Are you a flavored salmon or tarama?

Are you champagne or Christmas beer?

Are you a chicken or a capon?

Are you dauphine or mashed sweet potato?

Are you a foie gras in jelly or a vegetable pie?

Are you an ice cream log or a cream log?

Are you candied chestnuts on energy balls?

Are you Saint Môret or Brillat-Savarin truffle?

Are you toast or blinis?

Are you fond of bottarga or pressed caviar?

Are you a panettone or a log?

Are you a papillote or a chocolate truffle?

Are you petits fours or babka?

Are you whiskey or limoncello?


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