© Tina Rupp
Sommeliers, of course, spend a lot of their time thinking about which wine goes well with which food, or does not go well, or might go well if it weren’t Thursday, and so on. But if you ask a sommelier what wine he or she would like to drink right now, more often than not the answer is Champagne.
There’s a good reason for that: Champagne, essentially, goes with everything. It goes with salty dishes; it goes with fatty dishes; it goes with birds and it goes with beasts; with cheese it’s mighty tasty and with vegetables it is sublime; it’s ideal for celebrations and obligatory for toasts; it’s even excellent when poured on its own for no particular occasion at all.
And while New Year's isn't exactly a food-centric holiday, let's face it: if you're hosting a New Year's party, you're going to be serving something—hors d'oeuvres, bar snacks, appetizers, chips-n-dips, half-full cans of beenie-weenies, you name it. Things just aren't sufficiently party-like otherwise. So that doubles the reason to go with bubbles: first, celebration; second, no matter what you serve, the wine will go well with the food. Here are some great options, from inexpensive to pricey, that will solve any New Year's wine issues you might have.
NV Zardetto Prosecco ($13) As with all Proseccos, the effervescence in this peach-scented, fruity, nonvintage (“NV”) sparkler comes from a second fermentation in pressurized stainless steel tanks (in the traditional Champagne method, the second fermentation happens in the bottle). It’s a cost-effective strategy, and one reason why Prosecco remains such a bargain in general.
NV Gruet Rosé ($17) New Mexico might seem like an unlikely source for any wine, much less impressively good, affordable sparkling wine, but that’s exactly what Gruet makes. Its nonvintage rosé bottling has the substance topair with main courses but is light enough to make an excellent aperitif aswell.
NV Lini Lambrusco Labrusca 910 Rosso ($18) Forget the image you have of Lambrusco as insipidly sweet and fizzy. This traditionally styled Lambrusco (from Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region) has the dark berry fruit and tangy zip of a good Italian red, with the lively effervescence of a sparkling wine.
NV Scharffenberger Brut Excellence ($20) This nonvintage sparkler from California’s Anderson Valley is creamy and luscious, though not sweet at all; it’s a blend of two-thirds Chardonnay and one-third Pinot Noir.
NV Pol Roger Brut Reserve “White Foil” Champagne ($45) Of the major Champagne houses—the grande marques, as they’re called—Pol Roger is one of the few that remains family-owned. Its brut reserve is a classic: fine, creamy bubbles, bracing acidity and a richness that comes from a high percentage of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier in the blend.
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