New Year’s Eve 2014

Sparkling wines sparkle on New Year’s Eve.

Which is today, by the way. Pointers to enhance your pleasure in waning moments of 2014:
• Drink sparkling from flutes, not wide, shallow sherbet glasses. Although titillating, myth that sparkling glasses were designed to fit over Marie Antoinette’s breasts is ridiculous. Even if true, remember what happened to her; keep your head on your shoulders.
• Best way to get bubbly to drinking temp: Remove from fridge 15 minutes before opening or put room-temperature bottle in ice water 15 minutes before opening (bucket should be half water and half ice; ice alone takes much longer).
• Do not blind someone. American Academy of Ophthalmology reports sparkling wine corks fly up to 50 miles an hour and can cause serious damage. Careening corks cause eye bleeding, retinal detachment, iris damage, blindness.

Cool sparkling to around 45°F. Sparkling tastes better and is less volatile (less pressure on cork) at this temperature. Keep metal cage over cork until you open; you can leave loosened cage on the cork for better grip. Remove cork by placing towel over cork, hold cork, twist bottle. Eject cork slowly. Only oafs use thumbs to eject corks. Surely you want to avoid oafishness. Squander your annual oafishness allotment on some other foolishness after you—and everyone else—has consumed a bunch of bubbly.

• Drink responsibly. Enjoy a happy New Year’s Eve. Live to see a rewarding 2015.

Tasting notes:
• Barefoot Bubbly Extra Dry & Brut Cuvée. Chard sparklings; apples, citrus; extra dry bit sweeter than brut; both have good acidity; appealing value pours. $9
• Flor Processo NV. Creamy mousse; refreshing, crisp; citrus, peach, stone fruit; palate-cleansing acidity; quality Italian sparkling. $18
• Mercat Brut Nature Cava NV. Clean, crisp, Champagne-like yeasty, toasty; apples; bone dry, makes love to food; superb Spanish bubbly. $19
• Albert Bichot Brut Rosé NV. Burgandy crémant; explosive bubbles, rose nose; cranberry, raspberry, strawberry; vivacious, seductive delight. $27
• Gonet-Médeville Premier Cru Brut Champagne NV. Exquisite nose; flinty, vibrant; green apple, almond, lemon; real Champagne you can afford. $45

Last round: “Champagne is the only drink that leaves a woman still beautiful after drinking it.” Madame de Pompadour.