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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

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.

The annual Taste of Biltmore - Seasons 52 had just the right treat. A unique twist on traditional desserts, the restaurant was offering little shot glasses filled with sweet treats such as old-fashioned carrot cake and rocky road.

Plenty Of Food And Fun At The Taste Of Biltmore Culinary Event

At the annual Taste of Biltmore held Oct. 7th 2010 on the front lawn of the National Bank of Arizona headquarters in Phoenix, guests gathered to sample cuisine from 14 premier Biltmore-area restaurants.

Created in 2007, the 4th annual block party brought together residents to try local food favorites while enjoying the sounds of jazz vocalist Laura Fial & Friends. There was plenty of food and fun to go around with dishes ranging from some old school favorites: grilled cheese and tomato soup from Frank & Albert’s to refreshing yogurt desserts courtesy of Mojo Yogurt. With such an eclectic mix there was truly something for everyone.

Other notable dishes included the smoked salmon on crispy bruschetta from Houston’s; shrimp ceviche over cucumber panna cotta from the Wrigley Mansion; and the delicious seared black Ahi tuna on a bed of wakame salad and fried wonton with wasabi cream sauce from McCormick & Schmicks. The tasty combinations were endless.

For those with a sweet tooth but trying to curb their calorie intake, Seasons 52 had just the right treat. A unique twist on traditional desserts, the restaurant was offering little shot glasses filled with sweet treats such as old-fashioned carrot cake and rocky road. The catch? It’s all under 475 calories, as is everything that is served in this restaurant. Definitely worth checking out for the health-conscious foodie. All the mini-dishes presented by the restaurant were palate-pleasing and allowed guests to sample just enough to leave them wanting more.

Featured restaurants included Aiello’s, Donovan’s Steakhouse, Hava Java, Houston’s, McCormick & Schmicks, Omaha Steakhouse, Ruth’s Chris, Mojo Yogurt, Seasons 52, Frank & Albert’s, The  Wrigley Mansion, Bluewater Grill, The Melting Pot and Adobe Restaurant.

The intimate event also served as the debut for We Are The Valley, a joint-fundraising program benefitting 11 local charities. Attendees had the opportunity to purchase special edition GivingBands, featuring the logo of a participating charity, made from recycled pewter and assembled by Arizona residents with disabilities.

The evening was a great success, promoting the delicious cuisine local restaurants have to offer and supporting a great cause.