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wine is fine but when it comes to celebrating in style, champagne is the
beverage of choice. Come December 31st, then, chances are good that as
you count down to the new year, you'll be holding a glass of chilled
champagne in hand.
But what kind of champagne to
get? Sure, everyone knows that to get the best champagnes, simply slap
down the $100 or so bucks and you can pretty much guarantee that you'll
be getting something mighty nice indeed. For those of us on a more
modest budget, however, picking a champagne feels a tad more
complicated. Bad champagne is a dreadful, dreadful drink indeed -- so how
do you make sure you're getting the best libation at a price you can
afford? Whether you're throwing a swanky soiree for a crowd, or ushering
in 2004 in more cozily intimate style, here's our handy guide to
qu'est-ce que c'est?
Technically speaking, the word Champagne refers strictly to the
sparkling wines produced in the Champagne region of France. In modern
parlance, however, the term champagne (with a lower-case c) has pretty
much come to be synonymous with any wine that has undergone the
Champagne method, a time-consuming process that begins with the usual
grapes-into-wine step, along with a second fermentation that takes place
in the bottle. It's this second fermentation that produces the bubbles
in the wine. All of this, actually, is only truly important to appease
your inner geek. Your sparkling California wine can be just as perfectly
quaffable a glass of bubbly as an authentic Champagne -- and frequently,
the domestic versions will give you more bang for your buck. Other
countries also make fine bubbly wines -- cava from Spain and prosecco
from Italy are both dandy champagne alternatives, for instance.
lounge . nourish
host . laze
. home .