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text by   SHANI SILVER

We all love a glass (or two) of bubbly, but what do we really know when it comes to serving it? Holiday hosting is in full swing, and you don’t want to be the only party on the block without a clue. We spoke with Brett Vankoski, Vice President of Latitude Beverage Company, to get the skinny on our favorite holiday season sipper. Read on to learn more and perfect your bubbly-buying skills just in time for NYE…

  1. WHAT IS THE MOST COMMON CHAMPAGNE-BUYING MISTAKE? WHAT SHOULD WE BE DOING INSTEAD? The most common mistake in buying champagne is assuming that all wine containing bubbles is called “Champagne.”  It’s only truly Champagne if it says so on the label, meaning that the grapes used to make the wine are grown in the Champagne region of France and the wine is made according to the specialized Champagne method.  What some may not realize is that there are other types of excellent sparkling wines made around the world using the same method. Look for language like “Méthode Champenoise” or “Traditional Method” on the bottle of these wines and you’ll find that they are usually less expensive, but equally tasty.
  1. WHAT IS THE MOST CLASSIC KIND OF CHAMPAGNE TO PURCHASE IF WE’RE THROWING A NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY? Whether you’re looking to impress your friends by buying a brand famous for its name or wow them with an unknown label with incredible taste, the most classic and crowd-pleasing kind of champagne to purchase is one with a subtle combination of crisp berry or orchard fruit with a creamy, gentle texture. These classic attributes are highly sought after by winemakers worldwide, so in creating La Cle de la Femme we did our best to deliver on all 
  1. IS IT EVER POSSIBLE TO “SAVE” CHAMPAGNE WHEN WE OPEN A BOTTLE WE CAN’T FINISH?  Yes, but we’ve found that people don’t often face this dilemma since Champagne is such a crowd pleaser! If you’re in a pinch, there are special sparkling wine stoppers that attach to the top of the bottle which do a good job trapping the CO2 in the bottle and keeping the wine bubbly. If you keep the wine cold, it will also help delay the escape of the gas from the liquid.  Inevitably, however, the wine will lose its bubbles after a day or two. If you don’t feel like you can drink the whole bottle, then opt for a half bottle, which are typically easy to find in any wine shop. 
  1. DOES IT REALLY MATTER WHAT KIND OF GLASSWARE WE USE TO SERVE CHAMPAGNE?  Yes and no. Part of the joy of Champagne is the celebratory experience and ritual of drinking it.  A traditional champagne flute can enhance this experience by providing a great visual of a row of bubbles trailing from the bottom of the glass to the top of the liquid.  But truthfully, any good wine glass will do the trick. 
  2. WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH EVERYONE KNEW ABOUT BUYING CHAMPAGNE? The thing I wish people knew about buying Champagne is that there are many different styles and varieties that can speak to one’s palate. Just as one particular chardonnay or one pinot noir may not please everyone, each Champagne has its own special flavor and nuance. Buyers should experiment with and try a variety of different Champagnes and settle on a brand and a style that they enjoy the most. After all, the most important thing to know about buying Champagne is to choose the one that makes you the happiest!

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