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The extraordinary shape of the pitcher of N. jacquelineae. This, and at least 20 other species of pitcher plants, have been discovered and names during the last decade. Hundreds of mountains remain unexplored across South East Asia, and could harbour dozens of further undiscovered carnivorous plant species. Redfern Natural History

"This is the time to buy champagne and sparkling wine and there are thousands of choices out there," says Dorothy Gaiter.

Gaiter should know. She and her husband, John Brecher, are The Wall Street Journal's "Tastings" columnists. They gave some tips to CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston on selecting the right bubbly for the New Year.

"Right now, people want to spend a reasonable amount even on their once-a-year bubbly," explains John Brecher. "What people are looking for, is what tastes best."

Currently, California is producing good sparkling wines at affordable prices.

"A lot of people don't think of bubblies for food, but a lot of them go really well with cream sauce, with shushi," says Brecher. Good wine and champagne can go for as low as $15 to $18.

And don't pop that champagne, say the columnists.

"Popping it is great when you win the World Series, but otherwise, you don't want to do that for a couple of reasons," says Brecher. "One is, you lose a lot of the bubbles. But the other is that I'm always concerned that I'm gonna put my eye out."

He says to take off the little cap from the underside. And then the bottle shouldn't pop. "As we once heard in an old movie, it should cough apologetically," explains Brecher.

The two do not select their glass based on the wine they are having. "We grew up with glasses that are shaped like a bowl," says Brecher, describing his wine glass. "We read somewhere that's patterned after Marie Antoinette's breasts. Go figure. Experts think that a flute shows off the bubbles best.

Through many taste tests, the columnists say they discovered you can't go wrong with anything from France with Heidseick in the name. "It's very elegant and sort of seductive.," says Gaiter. "You taste it, and then it sort of grows and just becomes very much in your head. It's a sexy champagne. This is a date wine."

Sometimes selecting a wine is not just in the taste, but it is in the emotions.

"That's right. Wine is a very emotional, memory–filled experience," says Gaiter.

"And you know, these are my parents wedding glasses, so to have our wedding champagne in their wedding glasses is very special," says Brecher. "Happy holidays."

For more information on "Tastings" or on Dottie Gaiter and John Brecher, please go to The Wall Street Journal website WSJ.com or you may contact them at wine@wsj.com.
  • Rome Neal

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