Basic Champagne and Sparkling Wine Tips

There are certain holidays and special occasions that call for bubbly… Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, Weddings… but I’m a strong believer for any-occasion champagne drinking. Can’t agree on what wine to pair with your dinner? Attending a company cocktail party? Getting together with friends on a Saturday afternoon? Champagne or sparkling wines are the answer.

Here’s a few basic tips on Champagne and Sparkling Wines:

Sweetness levels (for both Champagne and Sparkling Wines): Brut = Dry, Sec = Dryish, Demi-sec = Medium, Dry Doux = Medium Sweet.

Champagne must come from the region of Champagne in northeast France. There are only three grapes permitted for the production of champagne; Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay.

How to read a champagne label.

Tips and tasting notes from my mentor, Tylor Field III.

A few of my favorite Champagnes: Taittinger, Ruinart Brut Rose

Sparkling Wines can come from any region and can include additional grape varieties such as Pinot Gris, Muscat, Chenin Blanc, Shiraz, etc.

Names of sparkling wines by region: Cava = Spain, Spumante = Italy, Sekt = Germany, Cap Classique = South Africa.

Sparkling wines are usually more reasonably priced and are great to experiment and enjoy. I recommend Cristalino Brut and Nando Asti Spumante.

Since we are quickly approaching a champagne worthy holiday, I’m also including a sophisticated champagne cocktail recipe to ‘Cheers’ to your Valentine!

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