There is champagne and there is champagne.
A champagne can be Sans Cru (without a quality mark), a Premier Cru or with a Grand Cru quality stamp. Less than 1 % is a Grand Cru. You could say, the quality stuff we don’t drink too often.
Champagne is made out of three sorts of grapes: the pinot noir, the pinot meunier and the chardonnay.
Real or not
The real stuff is made in the champagne region. Everything from outside this region can taste allright, but it can not be called champagne. All the sparkling wines that are used as a (cheaper) replacement can not be compared to the real stuff. A good champagne lies two to three years in the cellar before it gets to be drunk.
Which one should you choose?
There are three main types of champagne, brut is dry with very little sugar, demi-sec is somewhat sweet and then there is rose, a dry champagne, a little sweeter than brut. The pink colour comes from the skin of the dark red pinot noir.
Within the champagne region there are many different tasting champagnes. A demi-sec from the north is very different from a demi-sec in the south. To find out which one you like best, there is just one way, tasting. You could of course follow the advice of your retailer at first.
Opening and pouring
When you open a bottle of champagne don’t let the cork pop, unless you won the formula one race, this is not done.
When you pour, keep you thumb in the soul of the bottle (the cavity in the bottom) turn your wrist up and keep the label on top.