I recently went out shopping for Christmas dinner and was so excited to see the displays of champagne. So now that I am in the holiday mood the best way to celebrate the season was to go out and find some champagne to recommend for your holiday parties. I selected two bottles from the label of Domaine Ste Michelle which is located in the Columbia Valley in Washington State. During this particular shopping trip I selected their Brut champagne and the Extra Dry champagne. Both retailed for $15.99.

We started our tasting with the drier of the two champagnes, the Brut. Unlike wine, smelling the champagne before drinking it does not enhance the tasting. Because the majority of the bouquet of the champagne is the CO2 escaping from just opening the bottle, you cannot smell the grape. The Brut was quite smooth for being so dry. We even had some sweet wine drinkers try this wine and found the Brut to be much sweeter than they expected.

Next we moved onto the Extra Dry champagne. This was my favorite wine but I was quite surprised to see that the others in our group did not find this champagne to be as smooth. It was definitely a bit sweeter but had a little bit of a bite at the first sip. It was quite bubbly and left a nice floral finish at the end. Both champagnes were very good and were winners with our tasters.

Once you have selected your champagne, let me give you a few pointers about opening the bottle. Now, I know this first tip will upset many of you, but my first tip is DO NOT shake the bottle before opening it (unless you are at someone else’s house and you don’t have to clean up the mess). Next take off the foil around the top of the bottle, loosen the wire cage around the neck of the bottle but do not remove it. Many people have a tendency to remove the wiring which may cause the cork to fly out prematurely.

Now the professional way is to take a cloth and place it over the top of the bottle. Place one hand on the top of the bottle and the other near the base of the bottle. Turn the bottle gently while keeping your hand over the cork in place. This will eliminate the danger of the cork flying across the room. If the champagne starts to run out of the bottle, wait until it settles for a minute before pouring it. Enjoy! And Happy New Year!



Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information on other winery topics, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com