New Years

Sparkling wines/Champagne are wonderful all the time, but New Year’s and weddings are when most people twist wire cages and pop mushroom corks.

Take note: 2013 arrives in six days; nothing beats sparkling as a party food pairing.

Sparkling wines play well with assorted finger foods/hors d’oeuvres found at year-end fests. Most sparklings have good acidity, which cleanses your palate for the next bite, whatever it might be.

Sparkling comes in range of styles, from sweet to bone dry, from delicate to powerful. Start with light and delicate, move to powerful, finish with sweet. Enjoy the interplay of food and wine. With a bubbly assortment, there is something everyone will enjoy.

Need an example? Here is an easy nosh-bubbly pair: bacon-brown sugar bites on a stick. Even bachelors can do this. Well, most bachelors.

• Cut bacon into bite-sized pieces. Toss pieces in a bag or roll in a bowl to coat bacon with brown sugar. Put into cold oven on baking sheet, set temp at 400 degrees, cook for 20 minutes or so—until bacon is done. Brown sugar should melt with bacon fat and caramelize.

• Let it cool—brown sugar gets very hot. Put bacon pieces on toothpicks. Eat. Notice how bubbly acidity cleanses your mouth after each sweet, fatty one-bite treat.

You have your own favorite party finger foods. Unless it is something really disgusting like deep-fried butter on a stick—and even that might work—you can pair it with bubbly as the calendar flips or at your next wedding. Happy New Year.


• La Marca Prosecco NV. Palate-cleansing clean; apple, peach, honeysuckle-lemon; light, balanced, full o’ fruit, mucho bubbles-mucho value. $11

• Domaine Ste Michelle Extra Dry Sparkling Wine. Slightly sweet; apples, pears, toasty, rich, creamy. Party hint: casual wine drinkers will love this. $17

• Roederer Estate Brut Anderson Valley NV. Apple nose; spice, cinnamon, pear; dry, rich, smooth, complex; drinks like bottle twice price. $25

• Gloria Ferrer Royal Cuvée Brut Vintage Reserve 2001. Vibrant, fresh, delicious, delicate, elegant, creamy; pear, lemon, apple, cinnamon. $30

Last round: “You have not drunk too much wine if you can still lie on the floor without holding on.”—Dean Martin.