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Ring in the New Year with Champagne

Ring in the New Year with Champagne

Jessica De Vault | The Fayetteville Observer, N.C.

When the words “Happy New Year” are shouted at the stroke of midnight, champagne bottles will be opened with a loud pop, followed by a geyser of the bubbly beverage.

And around this time of year, Teresa Swint, the co-owner of Grapes & Hops on Ramsey Street and a certified wine specialist, encounters plenty of customers looking for the right champagnes or sparkling wines to set the festive mood.

To help you figure out which sparkly drink to buy, Swint uncorks answers to some commonly asked questions.

What’s the difference between champagne and sparkling wine?

“Champagne comes only from the Champagne region of France. That is the only true champagne there is. The rest are considered to be sparkling wines, but they are allowed to put on their bottles ‘methode champenoise.’ That means it’s basically made with the same process as a champagne but it doesn’t come from Champagne, France. . (True champagnes) will be your higher-end wines in general that are going to mandate about $50 per bottle and up.”

What’s the difference between Brut and Extra Brut?

“Dryness. There’s a level of dryness to champagnes. Brut By Nature is your most dry one. Then you have Extra Brut, Brut and then Extra Dry. So an Extra Dry champagne is actually sweeter than an Extra Brut.”

What’s a good alternative to champagne?

“If you don’t like the taste of champagne, stick with a really good sparkling wine or a Moscato. They can be just as much fun.”

How should champagne be stored and served?

“Keep it in your refrigerator. All champagnes need to be drunk, not extremely cold, but cold. I might take mine out and let it sit 5 to 10 minutes at room temperature, if I had it in the refrigerator for more than 30 minutes.”