It is almost 2010!! It is the time of year for parties and lots of celebrating. What does this mean? CHAMPAGNE!!
What is champagne? It is a sparkling wine made from specific grape varieties grown in the region of northern France. The traditional method of making sparkling wine today is through the Methode Champenoise. The word "Champenoise" refers to someone coming from the region of Champagne, France. Many french producers prevent non-champagne region producers from using words like "champagne" or "methode champenoise." Today sparkling wines are made all over the world.
When going out to find that special bottle of champagne you should look at the labels. The different names on the bottle show the different degrees of sweetness in the champagne. The different levels are shown below.
Category Sweetness Level
Extra Brut --> Bone-dry
Brut ----> Dry
Extra- Dry ---> Medium-dry
Sec ----> Medium-sweet
Demi-sec ---> Sweet
Doux ---> Very- sweet
Remember that bottles of champagne must be treated carefully. If you swing it around too much the bottle will explode or foam over when the cork is removed. You want the champagne in your tummy not on your shirt.
Don't do what I did a few years ago and store the bottle in the freezer. This was a rookie move when I was in college. I took it to a super-bowl party and opened it in the kitchen. The entire bottle exploded up onto the ceiling and then fell down into all the food. Not my best moment. haha
Here are some of my favorite Champagnes/sparkling wines:
1) Piper-Heidsieck Champagne (Brut) -- They produce a lot of champagne but for the price (usually around $30) it is good. I went to the Piper-Heidsieck winery in Reims, France. It was quite the place.
2) Bitch Bubbly (sparkling blend) --> For the price ($10-15) and the name I like the Bitch Bubbly. It is pink, bubbly and just girly all around. Perfect for a girls night or day. The winemaker is from Australia.
3) Veuve Clicquot Brut --> My third favorite easy to find champagne is that famous orange label of Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne from Reims, France. It is a splurge, but so good.
Finally, with your champagne you can make all kinds of great drinks.
My favorite champagne cocktails are as follows:
1) Mimosa (the standard classic) Use a 1: 5 ratio of freshly squeezed OJ to champagne.
2) The Kir Royale (act like royalty) -- Similar to a Kir (which uses white wine) The Kir Royale has a dash of cassis (currant syrup), topped off with champagne.
3) Bellini (fancy fancy) -- best with ripe peaches, if don't have those use a peach syrup. A 1:4 ratio of syrup to champagne.
4) Poinsettia (for the holidays) -- A 1:4 ratio of triple sec to champagne, with a splash of cranberry juice added for color.
Hope you enjoy your bubbly!
Happy New Years