Champagne may be the most misunderstood category of wine in the world. The major reason for all the confusion is the use of the term "Champagne" appearing on labels of sparkling wines that come from places other than the province of Champagne in northeastern France. But true champagne can only be born in an environment that combines the essential elements of chalky soil, a cool climate, and the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grape varieties. These are the crucial elements informing the unique flavor profile found only in wines from that corner of the world. Without them, any wine-even a very good one-calling itself champagne, is just an imposter. Baffled by bubbly? Let wine expert Ed McCarthy clear away the confusion. If you find shopping for champagne a challenge, try this fun, friendly guide and discover just how easy it is to select the perfect bottle and: Appreciate various champagne styles Enjoy the author's favorite champagnes Store and serve champagne Pair champagne with food Evaluate sparkling wines from the US and other countries What's the difference between brut and extra dry? Is Vintage Champagne worth the extra money? You'll get the answers to these and all your questions about that effervescent wonder. And in the process you'll discover: How champagne is made, what grape varieties are used, where the major grape-growing areas are, and how those tiny bubbles get into champagne The difference between vintage and non-vintage champagne and champagne specialties, such as blancs and rose Champagnes The meanings of terms used to describe the dryness/sweetness levels of champagne, such as brut , extra-dry and semi-sec All about the great champagne houses, including in-depth coverage of the author's 25 favorites Everything you need to know about buying and storing champagne The best ways to serve champagne, including the best glasses, the best foods to eat with it and more Like most good things in life, the better you understand champagne, the more you enjoy it. This friendly guide will help you make your enjoyment of the most glamorous beverage on the planet complete.