30 December 2011

Happy New Year!

The end of the year is upon us, and while the clock hasn't quite struck midnight, I've got a busy weekend in front of me. In fact, the whole holiday season has been rather hectic with work and family and all sorts of other things, and I've barely had a moment to stop and smell the boughs of holly. For that reason, I'm taking the advice of Fredric and extending the holidays until Twelfth Night. Not only is there historical precedent, but you also get the opportunity to hang out with your Eastern Orthodox friends who celebrate Christmas a little later. Stretch New Year's Eve to Chinese New Year later in January, and you're even better.

As long as I"m mentioning Fredric, be sure to check out his annual Twelve Days of Christmas series on Champagne. You'll get great recommendations from someone who really knows his authentic bubbles.

For my part, I offer up a bunch of posts on proper Champagne, Prosecco, and a whopping 42 posts on sparkling wine, though there's probably some crossover on those categories. My general advice: if you can spare the cash and have a significant other plus another couple that might enjoy the wine, shell out at least $40 for a decent Champagne, and if possible, pick a Grower Champagne. If you're looking for affordable fun for a group of people, grab an assortment of Cavas in a variety of sweetness levels. If you just need fizzy wine to be splashed around at midnight and served to people already too far gone to know what they're drinking, you can have pallets of the stuff delivered for next to nothing.

On another note, during this holiday season, I've left the pen and notebook at home. I've still dutifully tasted and noted samples sent to me, but for wines that I picked up and took to parties or bottles that I sampled at various houses, I took no photos or notes. Oh, people asked me to talk about them, and I did to the best of my ability, but mostly I just said, "What do you think about this wine? Do you like it? If not, it won't hurt my feelings and I won't make fun of you." It was relaxing to simply sit back and enjoy a glass of wine without thinking about linking the winery and writing the PR rep and updating links to the notes on Twitter.

Not that I don't enjoy all of that, and it's part of why I keep scribbling away on this virtual parchment. But we all need perspective, and we all need time to sit back and remember that time with friends and family is wonderful, and if said time can be improved with a little fermented grape juice, all the better.

Dear readers and friends and families, please have fun this weekend, drive safe, and I look forward to a prosperous and engaging 2012. Damn the Mayan calendar, I've got too many things I still want to do.

P.S. Let me explain the photo... It's an old one from five years ago. We used to have a rosebush on the front porch that would dutifully produce a single peach-colored blossom once a year. Not in January, but it was an interesting annual event. I always loved seeing it and took a bunch of pictures each time it bloomed. I always felt that the "Pleasantville" effect was the best way to display it. Sadly, the plant died a few years back.


fredric koeppel said...

thanks for the plug, Benito..... and a very Happy and Prosperous 2012 for you and, dare I say, all of us.

Benito said...


Indeed, good sir, and a glass will be raised in your honor this weekend.


Michelle said...

Happy New Year Benito! Wishing you and yours all the best.

Benito said...


And the same to you! Looking forward to more gatherings in 2012. :)