Before you pop a cork on a bottle of Champagne, consider these items:
*Champagne is produced in the French region of the same name, about 90 miles east of Paris. Other countries also make good sparkling wines -- notably the United States and Spain.
*Brut is the driest of Champagnes, best served as a cocktail or aperitif before a meal or with smoked pheasant, salmon and roast chicken. Champagnes are also "extra dry,"
which has more sugar and fruit flavor than brut; "sec," which is even sweeter; and "demi-sec," the sweetest of all. Sec and demi-sec are dessert sparklers, best with fresh fruits like pears or non-iced cakes like pound cake or angel food.
*Serve Champagne cold in a fluted or tulip-shaped glass. To chill a bottle quickly, don't put it in the freezer (it could explode). Dunk it in a bucket of ice water for 20 to 30 minutes. Open the bottle with caution; never point the top of the bottle at yourself or anyone else.