An Expert Explains How To Pair Sparkling Wine And Caviar

There are few pairings as luxurious as champagne and caviar. Both ingredients are celebrated for their refined production and exclusivity, leading champagne and caviar to become a renowned symbol of decadence. While this combo is typically saved for celebratory events like New Year's, there are ways to make it more affordable and palatable for casual enjoyment. There are a multitude of sparkling wines you can pair with caviar or roe that are equally as delicious as the iconic pairing. Tasting Table talked to senior winemaker Andrea Card from Francis Ford Coppola Wines to learn more about the unique ways to pair sparkling wine and caviar and why they work so well together.

"The buttery richness of caviar is cut by the crisp, effervescent bubbles of the sparkling wine that makes you want bite after bite!" explains Card. "The acidity found within each also complements one another to create a balanced sip and bite each time." Whether you feature this on a snack board or use it as a centerpiece for your next party, learning different ways to pair these items can open up a whole world of flavor.

How to select the right types of champagne and caviar

Prosecco is hailed as being one of the best alternatives to champagne due to its accessibility, but Card also notes that Prosecco is a great option to experiment with different roe pairings. "Because Prosecco's flavor profile isn't as complex as Champagne, it's a versatile choice that has an approachability and touch of sweetness that lends itself well to different fish roes," elaborates Card.

This makes it a great entryway into this pairing world — try a variety of roe to see which one you like the most. As for the Prosecco, you can have some creativity with it. A sweeter wine is a fun juxtaposition to a saltier caviar, whereas a more savory caviar might go better with a dry wine. In addition to Prosecco, Card mentions Blanc de Blanc, which is made in the Champagne region and is a brut type of Champagne.

It can be overwhelming to think of how to pair these, but Card's recommendation is to pair based on the general body and texture of the wine. Lighter caviars go with lighter-bodied wines, whereas richer caviar is strong enough to go with a bolder wine. Texturally speaking, delicate caviars are best served with sparkling wines that have smaller bubbles. A buttery, savory caviar holds up to a crisp, extra bubbly wine, but don't take it too seriously. Card says, "Again, it comes down to personal tastes because this should be a fun and enjoyable experience!"

Pairing sparkling rosé with caviar

If the traditional flavors associated with white, sparkling wines aren't your cup of tea, you can try pairing caviar with a beautiful sparkling rosé instead. A sparkling rosé is going to be less about complementary pairings, and more focused on finding balanced, juxtaposing flavors. Card points out that rosé is thought of as a summertime wine, suggesting you try this combo as a seasonal snack for a perfect pairing of salty and sweet.

"Many sparkling rosé wines boast fruity aromas and flavors, such as strawberries, raspberries, or citrus notes," says Card. "These fruity characteristics can complement the briny, salty flavors of caviar, enhancing the overall tasting experience." The ideal rosé pairing would be extra bubbly and have prominent tasting notes of these fruity elements.

As always, the best pairings are going to be the ones based on your preferences. If you're looking for something slightly less rosé-like, you could try turning it into a sparkling rosé cocktail. Ultimately, what you like and what pairs best are determined by you.

Snack tray ideas for caviar and sparkling wine

Card says that it's "hard to beat caviar and our Prosecco." In particular, Prosecco is a versatile wine that can pair with a variety of foods beyond caviar as well. If you want to bulk up this pairing, you can serve it as part of a larger snack tray. She recommends rich cheeses like gouda or brie. The lightness of the prosecco cuts through the richness as well as the saltiness of the caviar. For more juxtaposition, she also suggests fruit and honey. These will bring out the natural sweetness of the wine as well as contrast with the caviar.

You can always structure the snack tray strictly around the caviar as well. You can offer traditional pairings such as crème fraîche and more outside-the-box ones like potato chips or Doritos — and potato chips and wine are a fun food pairing in and of themselves. You can make your snack board as filling or sparse as you please. Have fun being creative with your presentation and experiment with different types of sparkling wine.