Wine expert Leslie Sbrocco, of Thirstygirl.com, and Ray Isle, executive wine editor for Food & Wine, face-off in a she said/he said battle for New Year's Eve wine picks.
SHE SAID steal: 2009 Gerard Bertrand Cremant de Limoux Rose, $19.99
From an undiscovered region in the Languedoc area of southern France, this bubbly is a stunner for the price. Made primarily with pinot noir, it's a deliciously elegant sparkler that will impress for less.
HE SAID steal: 2008 Raventos i Blanc L'Hereu Cava Brut Reserva, $18
Cava, the sparkling wine of Spain, is made in exactly the same way as Champagne, but it’s a lot less expensive. Raventos i Blanc is a small producer located south of Barcelona, and makes terrific Cava that’s fresh and complex.
SHE SAID splurge: Schramsberg; Brut Rose $40.
California's iconic bubbly house, Schramsberg, crafts this garnet-hued sparkling wine that ranks among the world's best. Stylish, sleek and sippable, it's a wine that even Santa will covet.
HE SAID splurge: Piper Heidsieck Brut $40
Real Champagne, from the Champagne region of France, is the classic pour for New Year’s Eve. You could buy something equally expensive from somewhere else, but why? Piper-Heidsieck’s basic Brut (dry) bottling is elegant and full of flavor.
Inexpensive options (under $15) for your party
SHE SAID: 2010 Black Box Minis; Cabernet, $4.99
Good things come in small packages and these pocket-sized boxes are an ideal example. Black Box led the revolution in quality wines in a box and their new minis are great party picks. You don't even need a glass!
HE SAID : Mionetto Prosecco Brut magnum $25 (which equals $12.50 a bottle)
I think for parties there’s nothing more fun than pouring everyone wine from a big bottle. It’s festive and dramatic, and gives a real sense of event. The great thing about Mionetto Prosecco is that it’s extremely tasty and yet a magnum – the same size as two regular bottles – only costs $25.
Pricey picks for a splurge dinner
SHE SAID: 2007 Fontana Fredda Barolo $45, pairs with rib roast
Indulge a little— or a lot — this holiday. Take the time to prepare a show-stopping rib roast for dinner then pair it with a wine worthy of the effort. This Barolo from northern Italy is smooth yet powerful and oh so Italiano.
HE SAID: Guigal Chateauneuf du Pape $50, pairs with lamb
For me, a great dinner splurge means something more than just spending a lot of money. I loveChateauneuf du Pape from France; and for our price limit, $50, you can actually get a bottle that has a few years of age on it, like this 2005 wine from Guigal. The additional age adds complexity and depth to the wine. I like to pair it with the honey-glazed, herb roasted lamb, a recipe that was inspired by a dish I had at a restaurant in the same region the wine is from. It’s very Southern French, and ideal with the wine.