With Christmas and Hanukkah finally behind us, it will soon be time to mark the end of 2011. To usher in the New Year, here are some of our suggestions for bubbles and brews of all forms.
Katrin – What to serve can sometimes depend on how many are going to be enjoying what you are pouring. For two, nothing can beat an outstanding Champagne. My choice is Camille Saves ‘Carte Blanche’. I first had this at the Federal Wine & Spirits annual Champagne tasting a couple of years ago, and it remains a favorite. For twenty (or more), a sparkling wine is festive and affordable. After enjoying the 90+ Cellars Lot 50 Prosecco, I just had to try the 90+ Cellars Lot 49 Prosecco Rosé. This is a fun wine with aromas of fresh black cherry and strawberry. And at only $11.99, you can serve it up to a crowd.
Eleni – I find New Year’s (small gatherings) to be a great Open That Bottle Night. This year, I plan to open my 2008 Amancaya, made by one of my favorite Argentine collaborations: Caro (Barons De Rothschild – Lafite) and Nicolas Catena. A 50/50 blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine will make an excellent toast to the new year and to a year of drinking more outstanding wines.
Glenn – As I’ve often remarked, a sparkler sets the tone for the evening. For NYE 2012, my first choice is the German Gilabert Rosat Brut Nature Cava. Typically, I find cavas boring – but not this one. Imported by José Pastor Selections which specializes in artisanal, traditionally made Spanish wines, this is a blend of the somewhat obscure Spanish varietal Trepat and the more commonplace Garnacha. The color is a beautiful shade of raspberry and the wine smells like a bowl of ripe red berries. The fruit carries over onto the palate and lingers through the finish. Wonderfully frothy – and since the wine is given no dosage (Brut Nature) – completely dry. Beautiful in the glass and pleasing on the palate, this cava could also be an excellent base for cocktails. And after the glut of holiday spending, the very reasonable price is an added enticement. $13.99 – at Whole Foods 340 River St. Camb. MA
My next suggestion is to get cozy with The Mad Elf. This outstanding brew from Troeg is quite festive. The photo doesn’t truly convey the ale’s beautiful ruby hue. Brewed with sweet and sour cherries, honey and chocolate malt, the aroma is sweet, fruity, malty. Rich and smooth – with an IBU of 15 – and with moderate carbonation, this ale is meant to be sipped. My feeling is that it would also pair nicely with chocolate desserts. However, be prudent with The Mad Elf – the ABV is 11%! One wants to be awake at midnight. Unlike the cava, the Mad Elf is somewhat pricey – but worth it for celebrating the arrival of the allegedly catasclysmic 2012. $16.99 – at Kappy’s Wellington Circle Medford MA
-Eleni, Glenn, Katrin, Rodney