December 28, 2012
One of my favorite things to do for NYE is to set-up a bubbly bar exclusively for tasting a variety of sparkling wine and/or Champagne. We gather a bunch of offerings to try from different regions, then compare and toast the night away. By midnight, as our toasts become slightly slurred, we usually proclaim a favorite bubbly for 2013.
Setting-up is easy; I like to put each bottle on a pedestal (also called upside down glass vases) so everyone can clearly see what’s being poured. Make a sign for each that notes the name of the producer and the region. It’s a great way to get all your guests chatting with each other. By the end of the night it will sound like a bunch of college kids comparing their semesters abroad— “I liked the Italians best, the French were to austere.”
This is the time to step away from the grocery store and try out a local wine shop. Most wine stores have a great selection of sparkling wine. The staff tend to be passionate, knowledgeable and can guide you in finding some terrific wines.
Don’t be shy about letting them know your price point and that you’re open to many different options—please, try different options! Italian Prosecco, Cava from Spain, French sparkling wine, Rose from Alsace— there are numerous choices just waiting for you to pop open. All of these are great budget-friendly options— you’ll a get a fizzy bang for your buck and a chance to see what really tickles your fancy.
Of course, if you want to drink all vintage Champagne be my guest! Just please be sure to send me an invitation.
For the party, a couple things to keep in mind:
You want to chill down that bubbly so it can be served cold.
Stock up on glasses—buy, rent or borrow. We’ve been known to just write our name in pen on our glass. Those window markers from Crayola are perfect for this.
As for food, good sparkling wine is a great match for many different types of food. Asian food is phenomenal with champagne. The tasty sweet notes of a Peking Duck pairs wonderfully with all types of bubbles. Serve it with all the condiments and you’ve got a delicious and interesting meal for your guests.
I’m always impressed and amazed with all the things you come up with and tell me about. If you have a party idea, just go for it and have fun. Like I always say, if the host is having a good time your guests will be, too.
Cheers to the New Year!