Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It’s the final of these “inalienable rights” that we celebrate on New Year’s Eve. The pursuit of happiness. There are many ways to do this. Not surprisingly, they all involve wine. Here are some:
The black tie bash: You’ve always wanted to throw a party as swell as the ones by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s nouveau riche crowd in the movies. So cajole your friends into dressing up. Rent a hall. Hire a band to play jazz, hip-hop and Lady Gaga. Serve no entrees, only finger-food hors d’oeuvres: caviar, smoked sturgeon, oysters on the half-shell, shrimp, endive spears stuffed with goat cheese, biscotti and pavlova. Champagne is the wine for this. Real champagne. In real champagne glasses. If necessary, take out a second mortgage.
Pity party: You’ve just broken up with your eternal love and you’re facing New Year’s Eve dateless. Buy gallons of Ben & Jerry “Chocolate Therapy” ice cream, sprinkle with ground espresso beans, pour thick, sweet dessert wine over it. Binge-watch Hollywood’s great break-up movies: “Kramer v. Kramer.” “War of the Roses.” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” “Casablanca.” Go to bed when the sugar crash hits, uttering Scarlett’s hopeful plea: “Tomorrow is another day!”
First course, the “amuse bouche”: It’s a single, tiny pre-prandial dollop of salmon roe, creme fraîche and dill in one of those single-bite porcelain spoons, with an unoaked chardonnay.
The hors d’oeuvre: lemon-poached baby artichokes with a light, crisp pinot gris.
The soup course: creamy vichyssoise with a rich blend of sauvignon blanc and semillon.
The fish: classic sole meuniere with a complex French chardonnay.
The between-courses palate cleanser: Grapefruit sorbet with a tart New Zealand sauvignon blanc.
The main course: beef tournedos, very rare, with bearnaise sauce and several big, red wines.
The salad course: greens with a classic vinaigrette (served late in the meal, French-style), with a tart rose.
Cheese course: stilton with a sweet, white moscato.
Sweet dessert: chocolate meringue cake, with sweet, red port.
Finally, the outdoor “glamping” (“glamorous camping”) New Year’s Eve excellent adventure: Venture en plein air to a boat, a beach, a mountain top, a cave, a skinny-dipping spot or, better yet, a vineyard. Smuggle in hot empanadas and something mysterious in a thermos. Try not to break any municipal ordinances.
Happy New Year!
▪ Nonvintage Veuve Clicquot Brut “Yellow Label,” Reims, France: lively mousse of fine bubbles, aromas and flavors of brioche, butter and ripe pears, quite dry, persistent aftertaste; $55.
▪ 2015 Pellegrini Unoaked Chardonnay, Russian River Valley: floral aromas, ripe peach flavors, lush, long finish; $22.
▪ 2014 La Crema Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast (100 percent pinot noir): aromas of camellias, flavors of ripe red plums, bittersweet chocolate and spice, smooth tannins; $25.
▪ 2012 Geyser Peak Winery “Walking Tree” Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley (93 percent cabernet sauvignon, 7 percent syrah): dark hue, aromas and flavors of black cherries and bittersweet chocolate; $28.
▪ 2014 Joseph Drouhin Saint-Veran, Maconnais, France (100 percent chardonnay): floral aromas, flavors of pineapples and yellow apples, crisp; $19.
▪ Nonvintage Jackson-Triggs Vidal Ice Wine, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Canada: silky and thick and smooth, very sweet, with aromas and flavors of honey and tropical fruit; $28 per 187 ml bottle.
▪ Nonvintage Castello di Poggio Moscato, Provincia di Pavia IGT Piemonte, Italy: golden hue, quite sweet, aromas and flavors of oranges and peaches; $15.
▪ 2015 Cadaretta SBS Columbia Valley, Wash. (89 percent sauvignon blanc, 11 percent semillon): rich and smooth, with aromas and flavors of ripe apricots and citrus; $23.
▪ 2015 Sofia Rosé, by Francis Ford Coppola, Monterey County (35 percent syrah, 35 percent pinot noir, 30 percent grenache): fruity, crisp and tart, with aromas and flavors of strawberries and red raspberries; $19.
▪ Nonvintage Dow’s Fine Ruby Port, vivid red hue, packed with powerful, fresh red cherry and chocolate flavors, $17.