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Notes from the vineyard

Well, 2010 is almost in the history books and 2011 is just around the corner. Between getting together for holiday parties, making holiday treats and, of course, dealing with the snow, I recommend taking this week to pick up your champagne for New Year’s Eve. But how do you know which champagne you should buy? And what if you don’t like champagne but still want to celebrate with everyone else? Here is a rundown of the different kinds of champagne as well as some sparkling wines.

First, did you know that 50% of champagne sales are made each year before Thanksgiving? Twenty-five percent of the sales are made between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day and another 25% of champagne sales are made in the week between Christmas and New Years Eve.

Now you see why I recommend buying the champagne soon – the demand for champagne will be high in the next few days. When you go to select the champagne, know that there are four main types of Champagne – Brut, Extra Dry, Dec and Semi-Dec. Depending on how much sugar is added before the second fermentation determines how sweet the champagne is thus determining the type of champagne.

Brut champagne is the most popular type. This is the driest of the champagnes and goes well with most foods served during the holidays. Extra Dry champagne is a little bit sweeter than the brut and tends to have more of a floral flavor to the taste. Dec and Semi-Dec champagnes become much sweeter and usually are best served as an after dessert drink. If you are a fan of sweet wines, I recommend having a bottle of a Semi-Dec champagne on hand.

However if you are not a fan of champagne, you may want to look into a sparkling wine. I have mentioned sparkling wines in a couple of articles and really like sparkling wines, as they tend to have a wider range of flavors and sweetness. Plus, the different colors from sparkling wines really make for a festive table centerpiece.

If you have some champagne left over, make sure you have either orange juice or fruit punch to make your own mimosas to ring in the new year.

Happy holidays to you and yours,

The Candlelight Winery Family

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Street, Garrettsville. For more gift ideas or wine lists from the winery, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com.

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