The season of holiday indulgence without guilt is coming to a close. The good news? We still have one big night left and it’s a doozy. Time to send off 2015 off with a delicious bang! Like many people, I enjoy celebrating with bubbles. Lots and lots of bubbles.

(Trivia time. How many bubbles, on average, do you think are in a bottle of French Champagne? The answer is at the bottom).

The challenge is deciding which ones to sip: Italian Prosecco? Spanish Cava? Maybe the grande dame of sparklers, French Champagne? Once you’ve made that decision, it's time to pick how dry or sweet you’d like it and there’s a whole range of options.

In the sparkling wine chapter of my book, I talk about understanding sugar levels and I think a quick revisit here is helpful.

Most sparkling wine labels have an adjective identifying how sweet the vino is (or isn’t). For many people, this description can be a little confusing. Is extra-dry sweeter than brut? Which is the sweetest? The driest? Let’s simplify a bit. There are five basic levels to look at:

1. Brut nature - The driest wine made, meaning all the sugar is turned to alcohol during fermentation, so there isn’t any left in the wine to make it even the slightest bit sweet. These are rarely seen in the marketplace. Most people prefer to go extra-brut because it’s a little less severe in the dryness department.

2. Extra-brut - These sparkling wines are at their best with foods that are rich and have some fattiness to them; think celebratory fare like foie gras and lobster risotto. There aren’t too many extra-brut's out there on the market. They are around, but nowhere near as popular as brut or extra-dry wines.

3. Brut - This is the most popular and common style you'll see. The winemaker stops fermentation just before all the sugar is consumed — and so a little remains in the wine — making it taste just a teeny-tiny bit sweet. Of all the sparkling wines, Champagne is the one most often labelled as brut.

4. Extra-dry - From the name, you might think this sparkler would be, well, extra dry. In fact, it is slightly sweeter than brut because the winemaker stops fermentation even a little bit earlier than in brut, leaving a bit more sugar in the wine; if you sip them side-by-side, you immediately sense the difference. Spanish Cava and Italian Prosecco are most often made this way.

5. Demi-sec -The sweetest of the styles, there's no confusing this with a dry wine. Demi-sec's are usually enjoyed with dessert because they have the weight and sugar to hold up to you holiday fruitcake. Remember, the sweeter the wine, the heavier or sweeter the accompanying food can be as a compliment.

sparkling wines
Whichever sparkling wine you choose, be sure to serve it well chilled.
Daria Mineava

When it comes to New Year's, I opt for opulence. For me, that means the top of the sparkling wine pile - brut Champagne. The real stuff, from the Champagne region of France. This year, I’ll be sipping a bottle or two of Heidsieck & Co. Monopole “Blue Top” Champagne. They cost around $32 where I work, Bin Ends Wines, in Braintree and Needham.

It so happens the region of Champagne also makes great cheeses. And wouldn’t you know, they make a cheese meant specifically to be enjoyed with Champagne! Happily, you can pair it with any sparkler you choose, so don't feel limited if you aren't working with a “champagne budget”, or you choose a bottle somewhere else on the sweetness scale we talked about.

The chosen cheese is called Langres. Made from pasteurized cow milk, this little fella is semi-soft and a bit crumbly. The rind is washed, and it has that typical orangish color and slight pungency typical of the style. The flavors are mild and a touch salty, with hints of mushroom and sweet cream.

langres cheese
Washed rind langres was made for eating with champagne but will pair well with any sparkler you choose.
Courtesy of Formaggio Kitchen

The whole cheese is around the size of a cupcake, and has a slight indentation on the top called a fontaine. It’s designed to hold a splash or two of bubbly. If you’re feeling really inspired, take a knife and poke a few holes in the fontaine. The wine will seep into the cheese a bit, softening it up and making it even creamier. Langres is available for around $15 each at Formaggio Kitchen in Boston and the South End, and at many Whole Foods cheese counters.

Whatever bubbly wine you choose, remember - eat and drink what you like! If we’re all admitting to ourselves another year has passed, we might as well do it with a smile.

Bin Ends - 65 Crawford St., Needham, 781-400-2086, and 236 Wood Rd., Braintree, 781-817-1212,

Formaggio Kitchen - 244 Huron Ave., Cambridge, 617-354-4750, and 268 Shawmut Ave. Boston, 617-350-6996,

Whole Food Market - Several locations in and around Boston,