What special occasion or celebration is complete without a great bottle of Champagne? Here are a few of the most basic facts about Champagne to help you decipher the label the next time you're in the market for a bottle of bubbly.
Although sparkling wines are produced in many regions around the world, true Champagne is only produced in the Champagne region of France.
Champagnes are almost always made from one of three grape varieties – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier.
Champagnes labeled as Blanc de Blancs are made with Chardonnay grapes, while Blanc de Noirs are made with Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Meunier.
Rosé Champagnes are most often produced by a small amount of Pinot Noir to the sparkling white wine.
While most Champagne is dry, you will occasionally find a sweeter version. Check the label to determine the degree of dryness or sweetness.
Champagnes, from driest to sweetest, are labeled as such: Brut Nature, Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Sec, Sec, Demi-Sec and Doux. Brut is the most common style of Champagne.
Champagne is a very food-friendly wine that pairs with gourmet treats like oysters, caviar, foie gras and lobster, butter and cream sauces, and everyday fare like eggs, chicken, fish, shellfish, fried foods and even popcorn.