The tradition of raising a glass of bubbly in celebration goes back hundreds of years, when French kings decided coronations were to be marked with Champagne.
Sparkling wine found its way into the winner’s circle and on the dock, used to christen ships.
You can float several of those ships in the amount of sparkling wine consumed on a single day: New Year’s Day. Pop, fizz and bubbles make the party before and after the ball drops.
Let’s say everybody is in high party mode and you just want a perfunctory toast. You don’t have to go further than an inexpensive bottle of Prosecco from Italy or cava, the sparkling wine of Spain.
If you have a small group of cool friends who plan on casual sipping and conversation, you can go with a domestic sparkling wine, perhaps one from the California producer with ties to Champagne in France. Piper Sonoma Brut is dry and lean with green apple and a hint of orange and biscuit. At this price, it makes a nice choice to pair with appetizers as well. $14. ★★★★
Let’s say you are all business. You and you friends are too mature to go crazy on New Year’s Eve. You prefer to talk about each other’s side dishes and next vacation. You want to have your wits and your palate about you when the ball drops. You need to go directly to Champagne. You can count on quality and consistency from the large producers. Take your pick, and it will likely offer an elegant treat. Anything under $50 is on the low end of the price range.
Not as well known as some, Palmer & Co. Brut Reserve Champagne shows juicy lemon, a touch of dough and almond with an exceptionally clean finish. This is a special-order item in Pennsylvania. $55. ★★★★
If you are ringing in the new year with someone special, very special, you can’t get more romantic than sparkling rosé. The sensual fizz and vibrant pink oozes romance.
Moet & Chandon Champagne Imperial Rosé enters the mouth citrusy and then shows characters of strawberry and tangerine with a crisp but gentle finish. $52. ★★★★ 1/2
GRADE: Exceptional ★★★★★, Above average ★★★★, Good ★★★, Below average ★★, Poor ★.