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What’s Poppin’ on New Year’s Eve?

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By Chris LaMorte
Posted
Categories:FeaturedHolidays 2021

If you’re not sure what bubbly to serve when you ring in the New Year, help is on the way. We asked three restaurant pros to identify their top picks to toast ‘22—from great values, to splurge-worthy indulgences, to some surprise wildcards. 

 

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Frame

Sean Crenny, Wine Director

Hazel Park, MI

Detroit’s frame will welcome 2022 with a Great Gatsby-themed New Year’s Eve dinner. Chef Michael Barrera is preparing a multicourse dinner featuring seafood platters, lobster bisque, beef wellington, and more. But, it wouldn’t be a Jay Gatsby shindig without plenty of champagne. “I often use Champagne and sparkling wines in the pairings to help ‘get the party started’,” said Sean Crenny, frame’s wine director. “But, we also like to pair it with dishes that may normally be challenging to match with wine. The versatility of sparkling wine is endless. There is something for everyone.”

Value selection:  Mawby, Grace, Brut Rosé, Leelanau Peninsula MV, $70

Why he likes it: “Supporting the local Michigan wine community is important to us at frame,” says Crenny. “Michigan makes some fantastic wines, and more people simply need to taste them to understand how great they are,” he says. His selection from Mawby winery, located about four hours northwest of Detroit, is a case in point. Predominantly  Pinot Noir, this bubbly is made in the traditional Champagne method and is aged for 14 months. “It’s a delicious alternative to rosé Champagne, and it also supports a fantastic Michigan-based winery.”

Splurge selection: Agrapart, Terroirs, Extra Brut, Blanc de Blancs, Champagne MV, $220

Why he likes it: “Agrapart, a fourth-generation producer, has long been a trailblazer for the small grower-producer Champagne movement that has taken the world by storm,” explains Crenny. “A fine, elegant, yet powerful Champagne. In my opinion, this Champagne drinks as well as some wines that sell for over $1,000 a bottle.” 

Surprise selection:  Pol Roger, Réserve Brut, Champagne MV, $140

Why he likes it: “A sixth-generation producer, Pol Roger, makes some of the finest Champagne available. The Brut Réserve is a blend of equal parts of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay from 30 different crus, with 25% reserve wines used in the blend. At midnight, guests at frame will be toasting with a glass of Pol Roger to welcome 2022.”

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Corvino Supper Club

Christina Corvino, Owner, General Manager, & Sommelier

Kansas City

If you’ve ever fantasized about hanging out at Studio 54 with Liza Minelli, Andy Warhol, and the rest of the beautiful people of the ’70s, well, here’s your champagne-fueled time machine. The Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room in Kansas City, Missouri will “Hustle” in ‘22 with a New Year’s Eve Funky Disco.  Dine under a shimmering disco ball, groove to live music, and most importantly, have a toast at midnight. We spoke to owner and sommelier Christina Corvino for her NYE picks that help set the right mood. 

Value selection: Jean-Baptiste Adam, Brut Rosé, Crèmant D’Alsace, 2015, $65

Why she likes it:  “When you want to throw back some delicious French bubbles, go for a Crèmant, made in the same method as Champagne, for a fraction of the price,” Corvino advises. “This biodynamic beauty tastes of creamy strawberries and minerality.”

Splurge selection: Paul Bara, Special Club, Grand Cru Rosé NV, $278

Why she likes it: “I always turn to Special Club to seal a moment,” says Corvino. “This is a designation established 50 years ago for exquisite grower Champagnes, and there are currently only 28 producers that meet the quality standards.”

Surprise selection: Ca’ Del Bosco, Annamaria Clementi, Franciacorta, 2011, $188

Why she likes it: “Sparkling wine is my undeniable favorite, and while most of them are from France, this gem is from northern Italy,” explains Corvino. “It’s made with unbelievable precision and the result is perfection in a glass.”

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Saint Stephen

RJ Cooper, Chef

Nashville

When restaurants began to cautiously open their doors after COVID-19 lockdown, Saint Stephen in Nashville created a “Secret Society”—a regularly scheduled prix-fixe dinner served at an enormous chef’s counter that offered plenty of social-distancing space. Today, the Secret Society isn’t quite so secret, but it’s still going strong. On New Year’s Eve, chef RJ Cooper will offer a seven-course seafood-focused menu, gilded with luxe ingredients. While the Secret Society’s menus aren’t published in advance, Cooper gave us a sneak peek at some of his favorite sparklers on the NYE and regular menu: 

Splurge selection: Krug Brut Rose, Champagne, $475

Why he likes it: “It’s hard to get it—and it’s delicious. It’s very celebratory. It’s pink. It’s even got a pink bottle,” Cooper says. But, what really seals the deal for this chef: It’s exceptionally food-friendly. You can find it as a selection on the New Year’s Eve menu. “I can eat it with caviar or I can have it with fried chicken, or with eggs in the morning,” he says. “It’s just my favorite.” 

Value selection: Boundary Breaks, #356 Bubbly Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, New York, 2019, $52

Why he likes it: “It’s not the norm when it comes to sparkling wine, but it’s delicious,” he says of this bubbly from the Finger Lakes of New York. “When you think of riesling, you may think sweet, but it is dry and its bubbles are tight on your palate. It’s rounded enough to carry a lot of flavor notes across different variables, from acid to fatty to yeasty.” 

Surprise selection: Billecart-Salmon, Brut Reserve, Champagne, NV, $125

Why he likes it: “It’s a mid-range champagne that’s a favorite among a lot of my chef friends,” he says. “It’s a chardonnay and pinot blend with good acid. And it’s easy to drink. You can drink it from the start of dinner through a lot of different dishes because the balance is really good. Just don’t put orange juice in it!”

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Visit the Tock Holiday Wine Shop for more inspiration for the season.

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