It's the holidays! A time for joy and laughter, the tinkle of glasses and the twinkle of lights. Wine and spirits are an integral part of most holiday celebrations, and it's no secret why: The exalted mood provided by alcohol in moderation can make any season a little brighter. Specifically, Christmas and New Year's seem to demand sparkling wine. Champagne for those who can afford its splendors, and workaday bubbles for those of us on a budget. But at whatever price your sparkler, there's a right and wrong way to enjoy it.
Or rather, a good way and a better way. Because sparkling wines, as noted, make any occasion more festive. But better because, just as you match your shoes to your bag and hat to your scarf, there's a way to harmonize your wine and your celebration.
Here are three tips on making the most of your mousseux (that's French for bubbles, I think):
1) Flutes. Are champagne glasses really necessary? Of course not. But only the flute provides the venue to watch the full, dreamy rise of a Champagne bubble to the surface, where it will pop with a tiny burst of aromatic fizz. It's a visual thing. And in the pre-TV days, this was better than PlayStation.
2) "Champagne." Can you call it "Champagne" if it's not from Champagne, France? Yes, you can, just like your grandmother called the icebox a "Frigidaire." Or called the refrigerator an icebox. If it's not from Champagne, it's "sparkling wine" or it's "bubbly" and there's nothing wrong with that. Alternatives that you can call by name are cava, which is Spain's answer to Champagne; cremant, which is anything French and bubbly from outside Champagne; prosecco (you know what that is); or sekt, from Germany.
3) Champagne and cake. Don't do this. Despite the popularity of Champagne at weddings, there are few matches of food and wine as poor as the brut dry tang of Champagne with sugary sweet anything. Drink Champagne with oysters, like Jay Gatsby. For sweets, a lightly sparkling Moscato d'Asti is the perfect accompaniment. A general rule with wine and deserts is the wine should be sweeter.
So now you know. We'll be stocking up on all kinds of bubbles for your pleasure, so pop on by!
When is Diwali?!
Happy New Year!