Champagne & Sparkling Wine

It’s been used to toast countless marriages, births and New Year’s Eves. As a symbol of celebration, no other beverage beats Champagne. True Champagne is produced only in the eponymous French region using a blend of grapes that can include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. But bubbles are hardly limited to Champagne. A surge in popularity has made it easier to acquire other, often wallet-friendlier sparkling wines such as Italian Prosecco and Spanish Cava. These wines all obtain their palate-pleasing bubbles through a process called secondary fermentation, though the actual wines vary widely in flavor, running the gamut from dry to sweet. Don’t wait for a special occasion to pop these bottles. Dry (brut) sparkling wines have a food-friendly acidity that helps them pair well with everything from oysters to fried chicken; sweeter wines, such as Moscato d’Asti, work well with dessert or as a foil to spicy cuisines. F&W’s guide to Champagne and sparkling wine includes lessons from top sommeliers, delicious cocktails to make at home and the best bottles to buy (even on a budget).

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Food & Wine: Sparkling Wines That Make Perfect Holiday Gifts
Sparkling Wines That Make Perfect Holiday Gifts
The holiday season is a time to indulge and give the gift of indulgence. That’s why sparkling wines, whether Cava or Prosecco or Champagne, feel so perfect for the holidays, because they are meant to be shared and enjoyed in a festive atmosphere, ideally with some little, fried bites. Whether you’re bringing a bottle to a party or leaving one under the tree, a bottle of bubbles is a gift that will please even the hardest-to-shop-for curmudgeon. Plus, the elegant, colorful and a touch metallic labeling of these bottles make them look like presents before you even wrap them. Here are some of the prettiest bottles of bubbly you can give—plus they taste lovely, to boot. —Maria Yagoda

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