Which means sparkling wine, plus a couple of other ideas -- whether for dinner on Dec. 31 or brunch on Jan. 1.
Our Champagne and sparkling wine glossary is here. This is also the place for my annual plea to drink more sparkling wine during the year. Bubbly deserves deserves more than just one post in the Wine Curmudgeon top 100 (90th place in 2012).
More, after the jump:
Divide bubbly into three groups – cheap, more expensive, and Champagne prices:
• $10 or so: I’m a huge fan of Casteller ($12, purchased), a cava that my old pal Dave McIntyre succinctly and accurately describes as “great juice” – crisp but a little more complex than most Spanish sparkling wine. The Italian Nino Franco Rustico is a Prosecco ($12, sample) with lemon-lime fruit. It’s especially fresh and effervescent for a Prosecco, and surprisingly well done.
• $10 to $20: Domaine Sangouard Crémant ($17, purchased) is from the Burgundy region of France, with tiny bubbles that don't quit and an almost spiced baked apple flavor. Truly a wonderful wine. Parxet Cava Cuvée 21 ($15, purchased) is more open than $10 cavas like Cristalino, with a bit of yeast on the nose and a tropical middle.
• $20 and up: California’s J Vineyards Cuvée 20 ($28, sample) shows up a lot on lists like this, and it’s easy to understand why – always well made, with bright, crisp green apple fruit and lots of lots of sparkling-ness. The Argyle Brut from Oregon ($27, purchased) has long been a favorite – very clean and almost austere. Beware older vintages, which sit in warehouses and turn flat and flabby.
Finally, a couple of still wines (so called because they don’t have any bubbles) for the holiday: Torbreck Woodcutter's RVM ($28, sample) is an Australian white blend with muted fruit (lemon and lime), low alcohol and a sort of fizziness. Fog Dog pinot noir ($35, purchased) is high-end California wine that admirably occupies the middle ground between cult pinots most of us don’t want to drink and cheap pinot that doesn’t taste like pinot.
More about New Year's sparkling wine:
• New Year's sparkling wine 2011
• New Year's sparkling wine 2010
• Expensive wine 17: Ruinart Blanc de Blancs NV
• Wine of the week: Gérard Bertrand Crémant de Limoux 2009