It’s New Year’s Eve, and that means one thing: time to break out the sparkling wine. But what to choose from the gazillion options out there, including Champagne, Lambrusco, and much more? Whether you’re celebrating with a blow-out feast, relaxing over barbecue or burgers, indulging in a little caviar, or going all-out with a dessert spread, you'll need to be armed with the right bottle (er, bottles). We asked Laura Maniec—a Master Sommelier and owner of Corkbuzz, a wine bar with two locations in New York City and one in Charlotte, North Carolina—to share her picks for the best bottles to help ring in 2016.
If you’re heading to an absolutely fabulous, no-expenses-spared dinner party—involving, say, a gorgeous rib roast—you’ll want to bring a bottle of Krug NV Champagne (around $150). “Krug is perfect because they use oak, and with a nice big roast, you need a richer, more buttery style,” explains Maniec.
When the party’s all about getting friends together for a casual send-off to 2015—and the menu involves mostly burgers and fries—bring a bottle of Lambrusco, like the Lini 910 Lambrusco from Emilia Romagna, Italy (around $15). “Lambrusco is more rustic and it’s super affordable, so it’s a great match for burgers all around,” says Maniec.
Caviar and Blinis
If friends are busting out the caviar and blinis for an utterly posh soiree, show up with a bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne (which will set you back about $200). “If you’re having black-tie food, you want a black-tie Champagne,” says Maniec. “Go for it.”
If your plans include a saucy, smoky barbecue bash, with ribs, pulled pork, and all the fixins, go for a bottle of rosé champagne like the Jean Velut Rosé Brut NV (around $40), suggests Maniec: “It’s a really intensely smoky style of rosé with lots of pepper and almost a cured meat aroma.”
Cheese and Charcuterie
A cocktail party with fabulous cheeses and charcuterie calls for a bottle of Blanc de Noir. The Cedric Bouchard Roses de Jeanne Les Ursules Blanc de Noirs Brut NV (around $120) is an excellent choice: "It's made from two red grapes—pinot noir and pinot meunier—and gives you a little more richness from the red fruit to stand up to the charcuterie,” says Maniec.
Macarons, puddings, pies, oh my. For a dessert party, bring an off-dry style sparkler, like the Drappier Carte-D'Or Demi-Sec NV Champagne (around $32), suggests Maniec. “It has enough sugar, but you get a richness that pairs well with dessert, and it’s really refreshing on the finish.”
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