Bargain Bubbly For Your New Years Eve Celebration
Lets face it folks 2009 has been a tough year for a lot of us. We've all had to tighten our belts and no matter what the "experts" say most of us are still feeling the crunch. I can't think of a better reason to sing Auld Lang Syne and toast to a prosperous 2010 this New Years Eve.
Even if your budget is tight you can drink sparkling wine this holiday season. After all what would New Years Eve be without a bottle of bubbly? Shipments of champagne to the US have dropped 42% in 2009 That means a lot of bottles are gathering dust and prices are falling. For the first time since about 2005 Cristal is priced at less than $200 dollars a bottle. That might not seem like much of a bargain for you or me, but others are stocking up. If you're looking for something a bit more affordable to serve at your celebration here's a list of less expensive choices from ConsumerReports.Health.Org.
Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut (California) This is a classic fruity sparkling wine with yeasty aromas and red berry notes.
Mumm Napa Brut Prestige (California) A classic fruity sparkling wine with yeasty aromas.
Piper Heidsieck Brut Champagne (France) This one is crisp, well balanced and toasty with less fruit than most.
Scharffenberger Brut Mendocino (California) This fruity, toasty sparkling win is a bit less intense than most.
Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava (Spain) A very crisp sparkling wine with light flavors.
Tattinger La Francaise Brut (France) A mature sparkling wine. It's toasty and yeasty with fruity aromas.
Any of these wines would be a good bargain. The Tattinger and the Piper are the most expensive at $40 and $33 respectively, but the other four choices are under $20 each. The Cava is the cheapest at $10 a bottle. It goes without saying, that if you do spring for the good stuff this year, drink that bottle first so that you can thoroughly enjoy the flavor.
Serve sparkling wine at about 45 degrees. A couple of hours in the refrigerator or 30 minutes in an ice bucket with ice and water should do the trick. Point the bottle away from yourself and your guests when you pop the cork. Remember there is 88 pounds of pressure behind that cork. You can't be too careful at 11:59 on New Years Eve.
There are some 49 million bubbles in a bottle of champagne. It is generally believed that the smaller the bubbles the finer the wine. Traditionally the drink is served in a flute glass for the best visual effect, but use what you've got. Your bubbly will be delicious no matter what you serve it in. You should chill the bottle, but not the glass, and pour slowly so that it doesn't froth. When the flute is about half full, stop the pour and let the sparkling wine settle for a bit before you top it off.
Champagne is the quintessential drink for New Years Eve, so pour a glass of bubbly and raise a toast for health and prosperity in 2010!