It is a shame that most everyone regards sparkling wine as something to drink only when there is a celebration or something to drink before a meal. Made correctly it has a great nose, wonderful acidity and that great carbonation to clear the mouth between bites of food. Matched correctly it's a great food wine and opening a bottle makes the meal a celebration in itself.
While Sunday's chicken (see below) was roasting I raided the cellar and we opened a Vicomte de Castellane brut Champagne. We poured a couple of glasses and then re-stoppered the bottle. There was nothing fancy about the chicken other than it was free range and produced locally (within 15 miles). It was seasoned with some herbs de Provence and salt, air dried for an hour and the roasted breast side down for half an hour. When I flipped the bird to breast side up for it's last 40 minutes I opened the Champagne.
Great toasty nose with a hint of lime. There was a lot of fruit mixed with some buttered bread in the palette and it finished tart and clean. For a brut I thought it was just a touch on the sweet side, but the tart finish was still there. Not a great wine, but for $28 a decent bargain. There is one more hiding in the cellar.
When the chicken was done we poured more of the wine and drank it through the meal. It matched well with the juicy chicken and actually seemed to accentuate the lavender in the herb mix. A better wine with the chicken than it was by itself - and that's good from my perspective.