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By Antoine du Rocher

LOS ANGELES, 15 MAY 2011 — In French culture, Champagne is considered "le vin de célébration." Almost any occasion will do: en apéritif at a dinner party, to enhance a discreet flirt at a chic gallery opening or club, or simply "une coupe" to smooth the path for a late night rendez-vous at home. That said, few human rituals benefit from the heady joy of a great Champagne  as the wedding. Here are a few simple tips and pairing suggestions for traditional wedding festivities.

The Shower – The pink color and light, fruity flavor of a delicious rosé Champagne pairs perfectly with subtle cheeses, smoked salmon, fruit salad, and many other hors d'oeuvres. Plus, a half bottle makes a lovely party favor.

The Bachelor or Bachelorette Party – For your last night of freedom, why not liven up your celebration with a rich, full bodied Blanc de Noirs style Champagne? This Champagne is made using only black grapes and pairs well with full-flavored foods — perfect to get the party started. Also, be generous, offer a boxed bottle to the stripper as a party favor.
The Rehearsal Dinner – It can be hard to please a room full of family who barely know one another, but a non-vintage Brut Champagne pairs well with almost anything and can help the evening go smoothly.

Photo: Jean-Philippe/SIPA Press Baltel

The Reception – On your wedding day, there’s no more perfect wine for toasts than Blanc de Blancs Champagne. The name literally means "white of whites," a perfect wine for the sometimes long-winded toasts by the friends of the groom. This delicate Champagne is made from only Chardonnay grapes and has a light, dry flavor. It is an excellent wine for dancing.

The Honeymoon – When you’re finally alone with your beloved, share a rare Vintage Champagne, only made in years that produce the highest quality grapes. These wines have been aged for a minimum of three years before they are released.

Still, whichever Champagne you choose, make sure it is genuine. Champagne is produced exclusively from the grapes of Champagne, France, and under strict rules designed to ensure quality. And while there are many other wonderful sparkling wines made around the world, Champagne only comes from Champagne.

Antoine du Rocher is Managing Editor of Culturekiosque.

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