December 1st, 2011 in Local Regional News

If you're looking for the perfect bottle of wine to take to the neighbor's house this holiday season, look no further than a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine. Chances are, if it has bubbles, they'll like it!

Sparkling wines and champagnes are categorized as Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, Sec and Demi-Sec depending on their sugar levels. These classifications can be somewhat confusing, but keep in mind, that in wine terms "dry" is the opposite of "sweet."

Extra Brut: The driest style of sparkling wine

Brut - Dry: Most popular style and ?very food-friendly

Extra dry: Middle of the road dry, ?not as dry as Brut.

Sec/Demi-Sec: Sweet (Demi-Sec even more so)

Did you know?

Sparkling wine can come from almost any wine-producing area in the world: Cava is from Spain; Prosecco and Asti originate in Italy; sekt in Germany - and, the most famous, Champagne. To legally be called Champagne, a sparkling wine must be made in the traditional champagne method (Methode Champenoise) from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay or Pinot Meunier grapes from the Champagne district of France.

How to Open a Bottle of Champagne

To open a bottle of bubbly without the infamous "pop," (which can waste a lot of good wine), you will need to have it properly chilled to about 45 degrees (either by refrigerating for three hours before opening or simply by placing in a full bucket of ice and water for 20 minutes). There are about 80 pounds-per-square-inch of pressure behind the cork, so carefully remove the foil covering and wire hood. Next ease the cork out, by securing the cork and turning the bottle (held at a 45 degree angle). Once the cork sighs open you are ready to pour and enjoy.

Bubbles for Every Occasion:

You had a good day at the office...

Gruet ?NV Brut - $12-$15

From New Mexico of all places, this dry sparkling wine is crisp and full of green apple fruit and offers up a lot of bang for the buck.

Your wife just got promoted....

Guy Lamandier Cramant Grand Cru Blanc de Blanc - $45-$55

This 100% chardonnay champagne drinks on a par with many wines twice or three times its price and offers a wonderfully floral, toasty, creaminess that is impossible to resist.

It's your daughter's wedding day....

Moet & Chandon Dom Perignon - $120-$180

While the increasing price of high-end champagnes can be frustrating, Dom Perignon is one that is well worth the money, and in great vintages, is absolutely stunning.