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Stories from the valley

I have to bring Champagne for New Year’s – now what? I can help with that too!

Contributed by Tim Johnson

I know… Champagne with its bubbles and hedonistic decadence is the perfect beverage to ring in the New Year. The problem is most people won’t admit that they don’t like it as much as they ‘should’. It’s overly acidic, giving it a sour note on the palate and really doesn’t go well with most appetizers or meal courses.

What to do then when you are asked to bring the bubbly for the big night? I have some solutions everyone will love!

Champagne 1

First, think past the typical Champagne on the shelf. Years ago at a wonderful meal at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, I was served a slightly off dry sparkling wine that went PERFECTLY with the appetizer course. It also drank well through the salad and into the main course (fish if I recall). The sparkling wine was Schramsberg Blanc de Noir from the Napa Valley. This is a brut, slightly pink with enough body to carry it through the food of the night and great as a toast.

Another great wine they make is their Brut Rose. Great with casual food of New Year’s Day like pizza and shrimp.

Finally, if you want something a bit different try their Crémant, which is a demi-sec with a bit more residual sugar. Great for spicy Thai and Asian foods and the sweeter courses.

Here is the link to their site and all of the great wines they make »

Another option is to move past sparkling wine completely! I love a good California Sauvignon Blanc for evenings like with its crisp acidity and easy drinking. It will go with almost any New Years appetizer. Even better bring a Moscato (Muscat)! It’s fruity, sweet and absolutely wonderful for a night of food and friends.

You can find all of these at the big wine box stores or at a well-stocked grocery.