By Holly Cameron

Champagne is a sparkling wine produced in the French region of Champagne from a blend of three grapes: pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay. It is said to have been invented by Dom Perignon, a French monk, at the end of the 17th century. Champagne is labeled according to the dryness of the wine, and the term "Brut" is given to the driest, while "demi-sec" is sweet. Champagne can be divided into vintage and nonvintage. Vintage champagnes are only made in years when the harvest is particularly favorable and are thus more expensive

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Champagne is best imbibed from a tall, narrow flute.

Dom Perignon

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Dom Perignon makes a rose champagne.

Named after the monk who first inspired champagne, Dom Perignon is produced by Moet et Chandon, one of the world's largest champagne producers. Dom Perignon is a vintage champagne and therefore each vintage has its own, individual characteristics. In general, Dom Perignon has pale-gold color, a full-bodied taste and a crisp aroma. A rose version of Dom Perignon is also produced in certain years.

Taittinger Champagne Vintage Brut

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Tattinger makes a nice range of champagnes.

Taittinger was established as a family business in 1734. It is known for producing luxury products with an emphasis on elegance. Its range of vintage Brut champagnes have a creamy richness and texture and they are produced from a combination of chardonnay and pinot noir grapes. The champagne has a pale yellow color and the taste is fruity with a hint of vanilla.

Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne

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Cristal was created in 1976.

This champagne was created in 1976 for Tsar Alexander II and was originally bottled in clear crystal, rather than normal glass. Cristal champagne is made according to strict criteria and is made from a combination of pinot noir and chardonnay grapes. Depending on the vintage, it has a predominantly fruity taste with floral elements.

Bollinger Special Cuvee NV

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The Bollinger family was originally from Germany.

Bollinger was established in 1829 and is a family owned company, originally from Germany. Its champagnes are known across the world for their quality. The nonvintage Special Cuvee is made chiefly from pinot noir grapes and has an almost buttery taste. It is one of the more affordable French champagnes.

Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label

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Veuve Clicquot is a quality champagne.

Veuve Clicquot was established by Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin, the widow ("veuve") of Francois Clicquot. The company has a reputation for producing quality, reasonably priced champagnes. This Yellow Label champagne is at the budget end of the price range and it is recognizable by a distinctive orange label. The champagne is dry to taste and there are elements of spice in the flavor.