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Choosing Champagne

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WILSON — You can bet champagne will be a big part of many New Year'sEve celebrations. But, many of us pick a bottle of champagne withoutknowing anything about its taste or quality.

Thanks to new producers making champagne and sparkling wines here inAmerica, the options are better thanthey have been in years, according to Chef Peter Edgar.

But, with variety comes choices. You can pay anywhere from ten dollars tomore than $100 for a single bottle of the celebration staple.

Edgar says a few key words can help you pick a great bottle without knowingFrench.

"Brut" is the driest of champagnes, and, by far, the most common. Other levels of dryness are clearly labeled, all the way up to "Spumanti." It's a sweeter champagne that is best saved for sweetmeals.

Retailers say that most champagne drinkers know exactly what they want.Because of that, they say, many stocks are enormous. Store managerRobbie Craft says that the large selection serves to please everyone.

Still, many people don't know how to pick a champagne, and for those people, experts say a fancy bottle is often the deciding factor.

Champagne is not just a drink to enjoy at parties -- it is becominga common choice with everyday meals. Experts say that you should besure to avoid drinking champagne when eating foods with vinegar. Thevinegar will make the bubbly taste like water.

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