Champagne & Sparkling Wine

It’s been used to toast countless marriages, births, and New Year Eves; as a symbol of celebrations, no other beverage beats Champagne. True Champagne is produced only in its eponymous region in France using a blend of grapes that can include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. However the good times, and the bubbles, are hardly limited to Champagne. A surge in popularity has made it easier to acquire other, often more wallet-friendly, 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 to pop these bottles on special occasions: Dry, or brut, sparkling wines have a food-friendly acidity that makes them an excellent pairing with everything from oysters to fried chicken, while sweeter wines, such as Moscato D’Asti, work well as dessert or as a foil to spicy cuisines. F&W’s guide to Champagne and sparkling wine includes lessons from top sommeliers, delicous cocktails to make at home, and the best bottles to buy (even on a budget.) 

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