Before you start celebrating the arrival of '06, we've pulled together a few tips and suggestions to help you celebrate in style. For starters, if you're not sure which bottle of bubbly to buy, check out these outstanding non-vintage Champagnes. C'mon, it's New Year's ... splurge on the good stuff.
If you have questions about Champagne or sparkling wine in general, don't worry—Dr. Vinny, our very own answer man, will come to your rescue. Wine novices and experts and alike ask Dr. Vinny plenty of questions about bubbly, so we've rounded up several of his answers to help make Champagne less of a mystery.
Last but not least, it just isn't a New Year's Eve party without good food. Here are some our tastiest, easy-to-make hors d'oeuvres, from pâté to Parmigiano-Reggiano cornets with prosciutto and pears.
Here's to a wonderful 2006. Happy New Year!
|HEIDSIECK MONOPOLE Brut Champagne Diamant Blanc NV||92||$100|
|Plenty of hazelnut, citrus and mineral notes in this tasty Champagne. It has a smooth texture and really glides across the palate. Its creaminess is balanced by a fresh acidity on the finish. Drink now through 2008. 2,000 cases made.
|NICOLAS FEUILLATTE Brut Rosé Champagne NV||92||$40|
|A distinctive rosé Champagne that smells like potpourri or Christmas punch with its cinnamon and clove accents. There's depth and intensity to the berry and whole-grain bread notes, matched to a raw silk texture and vibrant structure. Excellent length. Drink now through 2010. 9,500 cases imported.
|CHARLES HEIDSIECK Brut Champagne Réserve NV||92||$40|
|Seductive toast, coffee and hazelnut aromas and flavors highlight this medium-bodied, elegant bubbly. It's intense, yet graceful, with balance and a long, mineral-tinged aftertaste. Would serve well as an aperitif or with food. Drink now through 2010. 4,700 cases imported.
|DE ST.-GALL Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne NV||91||$35|
|The toast and coffee notes suggest older reserve wines in this sumptuous bubbly. A mineral accent adds complexity, and it all remains elegant and focused, ending with a lingering mineral and candied fruit aftertaste. Drink now. 450,000 cases made.
|PIPER-HEIDSIECK Brut Champagne NV||91||$35|
|This is creamy, enticing and bursting with honey, vanilla, hints of coffee and candied berry flavors, all matched to a rich texture and firm structure. Fine length and harmony, with time to give. Drink now through 2010. 60,000 cases imported.
|DUVAL-LEROY Brut Champagne NV||91||$30|
|Complex and beguiling, with floral, rosemary, candied citrus and mineral aromas and flavors. This is both elegant and intense, with a vibrant structure and long finish. Ideal as an aperitif or with light foods. Drink now through 2007. 35,000 cases made.
|ALFRED GRATIEN Brut Champagne NV||90||$48|
|Plenty of graphite and mineral aromas. Shifts gears to peach, lemon and vanilla notes. Rich and mouthfilling, with a firm structure and power. Good, lingering finish. Drink now. 12,500 cases made.
|HEIDSIECK MONOPOLE Brut Rosé Champagne Rose Top NV||90||$39|
|Here's a Pinot Noir with bubbles. Bracing, tight and expressive, it conveys its berry, currant and herb notes with authority and a sense of place. Muscular, but not massive, it finishes with a lingering aftertaste of berries. A wine for the table. Drink now through 2008. 3,500 cases made.
|LOUIS DE SACY Brut Champagne NV||90||$38|
|This is intense and vinous, with apple and cheese notes initially giving way to bread dough and mineral flavors. It's dry, with fine grip and balance, ending with a long, honey and mineral aftertaste. Drink now through 2008. 13,000 cases made.
|CHARLES ELLNER Brut Champagne Carte d'Or NV||90||$38|
|Packed with flavor, this distinctive, dry Champagne displays candied berry, vanilla pastry, honey and mineral notes. Its rich texture is offset by a bright acidity and it's well-integrated and long. Drink now. 1,500 cases made.
|PIPER-HEIDSIECK Brut Rosé Champagne Sauvage NV||90||$45|
|A boldly flavored bubbly, displaying vivid cherry and berry flavors with a fine texture. Bracing acidity and a lingering finish of freshly crushed berries completes the presentation. Drink now. 3,000 cases imported.
|COMTE AUDOIN DE DAMPIERRE Brut Champagne Cuvée des Ambassadeurs NV||90||$45|
|An appealing combination of richness and structure sets the stage for pencil shaving, berry and peach notes in this medium-bodied Champagne. It's balanced and lively, with a mouthwatering finish. Drink now through 2008. 1,500 cases imported.
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