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champagne

Picking The Perfect Champagne For New Year's Eve: Brand And Venue Picks

New Year’s Eve, the one time of year that our wine glasses sparkle as brightly our winter wardrobes.

But how does one choose the best champagne or sparkling wine to enjoy during this, the fizziest of holiday seasons?

“Simply put, one must decide how much of a brut he/she wants in order to determine the best bottle for his/her taste buds,” says Douglas Wooster, market manager of Moet Hennessey in Arizona.

According to Wooster, when it comes to champagne and sparkling wines, the term “brut” refers to how much sugar is contained in the bottle. The least-sweet bottles, generally the most popular among males, are generally those labeled as “brut,” “extra brut” and “brut zero.” For sweeter options, look for the terms “extra dry,” “dulce,” “sec” or “semi-sec.”

If shopping by brand, the below guide is a best bet for good bubbles; and all are available at any local AJ’s or Total Wine & More:

Moët & Chandon
World’s leading champagne house since 1743. The quality of the wines starts with the 2,840 acres of sweeping estates, offering unparalleled access to the finest grapes that the champagne region has to offer.
Retail: $40 – $85

Veuve Clicquot
For more than 230 years, the brand’s stayed true to its motto: “Only one quality, the finest.”
Retail: $50 – $180

Krug
Visionary Founder Joseph Krug understood the essence of champagne is pleasure itself.
Retail: $170 – $225

Dom Pérignon
Precise and tactile to the point of seamlessness; tense through rhythm and vibrancy; vigorous and fresh yet mature; intense and complex.
Retail: $150 – $200

If shopping for the best venues to enjoy a bottle or two of champagne this holiday season, below are two best bets:

  • Lon’s at Hermosa Inn’s Mumm & Perrier-Jouet Wine Dinner on December 27th, hermosainn.com
  • Champagne New Year’s Eve at Hotel Valley Ho on December 31st, hotelvalleyho.com

And, if you would rather try your hand at eating your champagne wishes and caviar dreams this New Year’s, be sure to check out Scottsdale’s own Melting Pot, which is incorporating a “champagne cooking style” into its holiday menu as well as pairing its signature fondues with a bevy of rich champagnes and sparkling wines.

“We are marrying rich Fontina and Butterkäse cheeses with buttermilk bleu cheese, shallots, scallions and fresh-cracked black pepper to the champagne on New Year’s Eve only for the ultimate sparkling take on our classic Wisconsin Trio,” says Aaron Marion, a spokesperson for the Melting Pot.

Lon Megargee, "Cowboy’s Dream"

Hermosa Inn Upholding Its Artful Origins: Art Walk, Residence Dinners And More

Originally built by cowboy artist Alonzo “Lon” Megargee as his art studio and residence, The Hermosa Inn has a history within the art world reaching as far back as 1936. After being launched to prominence by his commission with the state of Arizona to create 15 large, historic and iconic murals for the capitol building in 1913, Megargee also worked briefly in Hollywood; created illustrations for the cover of popular Western story magazines in the 1920s, which are hanging in the Library at The Hermosa Inn; and was also commissioned by Stetson to create his now-famous “Last Drop from His Stetson,” which to this day is printed in the top of every top-of-the-line Stetson hat and is the namesake for The Hermosa Inn’s Last Drop at the Hermosa.Lon Megargee, "Last Drop From His Stetson"

With such a rich history in the Arizona arts scene, The Hermosa Inn has since made a mission to preserve its artful origins, in addition to building an awareness of arts and culture within Arizona. A private collection of Megargee’s work has blossomed into an exhibit of more than 30 original pieces, which adorn the walls of the Inn and its culinary centerpiece, LON’s at the Hermosa — while the award-winning Artist in Residence Series is now in its eighth season. Most recently, however, is a partnership with Figarelli Fine Art — a leader in contemporary Southwestern art — who has brought in, and crane-lifted, an art installment valued at more than $2 million.

Lon Megargee, "Cowboy’s Dream"The 50+ piece exhibit is displayed in the resort, throughout the grounds, within guest rooms and in what is now the “Sculpture Garden,” includes such prominent artists as Allan Houser, Paul Moore, John Dawson, Phillip Haozous and Tony Lee. Combined with the existing pieces by Megargee, The Hermosa Inn has become an epicenter of Southwestern artistry and come late September will be hosting The Hermosa Inn Art Walk.

The Art Walk will allow guests and Valley residents alike to take guided, or self-guided, tours of the artwork on property, learn more about the artistic origins of the “old Arizona” inn and have the opportunity to purchase the work on-site.

In addition to the tours, the Inn will also be coordinating culinary events in the Sculpture Garden, where guests will not only be able to enjoy the atmosphere and artwork, but also the culinary creations of Executive Chef Jeremy Pacheco.

As if this wasn’t enough, the award-winning Artist in Residence program will be returning to the property in October and will feature a series of dinners and brunches with critically acclaimed artists, authors and musicians from across the U.S. who will be sharing stories about their work, art and life. Attendees will have the opportunity to mingle with each accomplished artists and, in some cases, watch as they create a masterpiece on-site while they share their tips and techniques.

The line-up includes:

Artist in Residence Dinners ($99++/person):

Friday, October 19: Javon Jackson
Friday, November 30: Ed Mell
Thursday, February 21, 2013: Jeffrey Siegel
Saturday, March 16, 2013: Mike Elsass Artist ‘Canvas and Corks’ Workshop
Friday, April 5, 2013: Dr. Connie Mariano

Artist in Residence Brunches
(complimentary with the cost of brunch at LON’s):

Sunday, October 21: Patsy Lowry
Sunday, November 18: Tom Van Dyke
Sunday, January 27, 2013: Jim Sudal
Sunday, February 17, 2013: Fred Krakowiak
Sunday, March 10, 2013: Linda Pullinsi
Sunday, March 17, 2013: Mike Elsass

For art lovers anxious to get a glimpse, The Hermosa Inn is open for viewing of the artwork on property, and private tours can be set up by calling (602) 955-8614. For further information on The Hermosa Inn & LON’s or upcoming Artist in Residence details, visit HermosaInn.com, Facebook , Twitter or The Hermosa Inn blog.

ABOUT THE HERMOSA INN & LON’S

Recently named one of the 2012 “Top 500 Hotels in the World” by Travel + Leisure Magazine and Condé Nast Traveler’s 2011 Reader’s Poll pick, The Hermosa Inn is a jewel of a hideaway in the heart of the Valley — minutes from Scottsdale, yet surrounded by an exclusive neighborhood in Paradise Valley. Originally hand-crafted in the 1930s by cowboy artist Lon Megargee at his private residence, the Inn’s adobe architecture has kept its “old Arizona” character and charm. All 34 casitas are surrounded by spectacular landscaping and beautiful desert vistas.

The $2 million remodel of the accommodations retains the legendary personality and intimate atmosphere of the original hacienda, while enhancing the accommodations with upgraded amenities for a more luxurious experience. The culinary centerpiece of the Inn is Lon’s at the Hermosa, the celebrated Four Diamond restaurant renowned for “artful American” cuisine, which is complemented by the Last Drop Bar, aptly named after one of the many paintings by Megargee that can be seen throughout the historic inn. For more information, visit HermosaInn.com or call (602) 955-8614.