Politics, hurricane/nor’easters, army general dalliances, hockey strikes — it’s going to be important to properly celebrate the departure of good-riddance 2012 and the arrival of hope-springs-eternal 2013.
A suitable toast comes from that prolific writer with the single name, Anon., who penned: “May the best of this year be the worst of next.”
Of course, the beverage of choice for toasts is bubbly — champagne, sparkling wine, cava, sekt, spumante, whatever. Any kind, from any place, at any price. To do it properly, use a tall, slim flute, so you can watch the bubbles rise. Those flat, open-mouth glasses are for super-sweet bubblies, so tiara-ed tsarinas can dip their cookies in them.
Be careful, though. Psycho-pharmacologists from the University of Surrey in England did an experiment with a dozen partygoers and concluded that bubbly gets you tipsy and silly more quickly than still wine, although they couldn’t say exactly why. Maybe something about speeding it into the blood stream. And they said the tall flutes exacerbate the problem because they preserve the bubbles longer than the flat glasses.
So get a designated driver.
Gee, all this sounds kind of negative. Which isn’t right, because bubblies are some of the world’s happiest, most ethereal wines.
So let’s end with a more optimistic toast by Oprah Winfrey: “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”
—2004 Gloria-Ferrer Carneros Cuvee, Carneros (55 percent pinot noir, 45 percent chardonnay): aromas of fresh-baked brioche and vanilla, persistent tiny bubbles, ripe pear flavors, long, creamy finish; $60.
—Nonvintage Gloria-Ferrer VA de VI, Carneros (89 percent pinot noir, 8 percent chardonnay, 3 percent muscat): lightly sweet from muscat grapes, ripe peach and apricot flavors, tart finish; $22.
—2002 Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage Rose, Epernay, France (51 percent pinot noir, 28 percent chardonnay, 21 percent pinot meunier): persistent foam, amber color, rich strawberry flavors, opulent, long finish; $65.
—Nonvintage Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve, Reims, France 1/3 percent pinot noir, 1/3 chardonnay, 1/3 pinot meunier): myriad tiny bubbles, opulent aromas and flavors of tropical fruit, cherries and hazelnuts; $65.
—Nonvintage Champagne Bollinger, Special Cuvee (60 percent pinot noir, 25 percent chardonnay, 15 percent pinot meunier): toasty, yeasty aroma, myriad tiny, persistent bubbles, flavors of apple pie and peach tart, firm structure, long finish; $90.