what is a really yummy champagne, something sweet and not too alcoholly tasting?
Gancia Asti Spumante is wonderful. Its sweet, a bit crisp, great for dessert, coctails, great with fruit. The other is Martini and Rossi Asti, also great. If you want a nice not too dry Asti, I reccomend Frexinet, Cordon Negro. All are well within your price range, and you could easily get 2 bottles for under 30 dollars.
What is a great champagne that I can give as a gift to a champagne connoisseur?
Consider introducing them to some wonderful sparkling wines made in California. Both Schramsberg (Schramsberg.com)and Iron Horse Vineyards (ironhorsevineyards.com) make delicious sparkling wines in a manner similar to the french champagne houses and regularly receive fine reviews. They also both make a variety of sparkling wines ranging from dry to fruity. If they like Frixenet, they might prefer a more fruity variety. You can check out their selections on their websites and then check with your favorite wine shop to see what they carry. Another good source of information is the Wall Street Journal wine columnist who I believe reviewed sparkling wines with the last few months.
What champagne is used at the F1 races and how much does it cost a bottle?
The champagne is G.H. Mumm. It is the official champagne of Formula1. The drivers spray it on each other and pass it onto the mechanics and pit crew below the podium. None of it gets sprayed on the spectators.
They cost around 80usd for the 75cl bottles, the ones they use in F1 podium victories are a lot larger and cost more.
What champagne to use for mixing or making a mimosa?
For mixing, I wouldn't spend much more than $15.
Personally, I like Zardetto Prosecco http://www.bevmo.com/Shop/ProductDetail.aspx?D=prosecco&Ntx=mode%2bmatchall&Dx=mode%2bmatchall&Ntk=All&Nty=1&Ntt=prosecco&N=0&ProductID=10178 . It's not too dry and not too strong so it doesn't mess with the taste of the mixer, but it's not so sweet that you want to pull your teeth out.
Need a good champagne or sparklingn wine suggestion to go with strawberries?
Since your range is $30 or less, you're limited to sparkling wine.
Some pretty good choices include:
Prosecco (Italian sparkling wine)
Blanc de Noir
Blanc de blanc
Rosé (pink & bubbly =)
Some brands to check:
French Creek Ridge
You can do 375mL of Cliquot Yellow Label Brut or G.H. Mumm for under $30. Both are champagnes.
(Despite what other answerers say, unless you work for the company, you can NOT get Moët & Chandon or Charles Heidsieck for under $30 legally. Restaurants barely get them for that low in bulk.)
is it one bottle as a gift or are you choosing champagne for everyone to toast your friend?
one bottle - a magnum of Krug non-vintage. Comes in a nice box and costs about 100 pounds (180 US)
for a toast-
who will be drinking the champagne? If it is all seasoned wine drinkers then get dry brut. If there are people whose summit of alcohol experience is a small sherry on Christmas morning, then get medium demi-sec, perhaps a pink champagne or Asti. Also, if people have just finished their meal, the bubbly drink is symbolic, most won't taste much after all that food.
Best English champagne is Nyetimber, around 25 pounds a bottle. Get from Berry Brothers & Rudd, Basingstoke or St James's Street in London.