The Zen books tell us to live in, and celebrate the moment. I try my best by having at least one glass of sparkling wine every day. It’s my "made it through the day" and "great to be home" celebration.

 

If bubbly every day just seems too outrageous for you, let me offer a tip: Down-style it. Buy Segura Viudas (see below) and drink it from a tumbler as they do in a Spanish tapas bar. And to avoid the temptation of finishing the bottle, recork and return it to the fridge after pouring. Revisit the following day.

 

The holiday season is a good time to get in the daily sparkling habit as no one will think you’re a lush. Your first move is to purchase an essential piece of equipment, a champagne stopper for resealing open bottles. Check your favourite kitchen store. Get a couple, because like corkscrews, they tend to disappear.

 

A few tips on opening sparkling wine: Be careful, aim the cork away from friends and valuables. Hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle and you won’t lose the first glass. It’s often easier to remove the cork by holding it firmly, and twisting the bottle.


As with all categories of wines, sparkling comes in a variety of styles. Bone-dry wines for the cocktail hour, fruity friendly wines for party sipping and sweet wines for lighthearted moments. The following are my recommendations. Champagne is not included as I’ll discuss that closer to New Year’s.


P.S. Looking for the perfect stocking stuffer? How about Billy’s Best Bottles Wines for 2007? Visit www.billysbestbottles.comfor details.





Billy Munnelly is author, wine critic and publisher of Billy’s Best Bottles Wineletter and Billy’s Best Wines For 2006. Visit www.billysbestbottles.comfor information about his in-home wine-tasting seminar. To receive a free copy of Billy’s Best Bottles Wineletter, e-mail info@billysbestbottles.com

















uncorked





Festive picks





HOUSE/PARTY — SPARKLING:


Segura Viudas Brut, Spain

LCBO No.: 158493

Price: $14



Codorniu Reserva Raventos and Pinot Noir Brut Rosé in gift bag

Price: $29.95

Segura is refreshing, stylish and one of the best drink values in the world. The best LCBO holiday gift pack is the white and rosé pair of sparkling wines from Codorniu. They are the buy of a lifetime. Have the white for cocktails and the rosé with appetizer food.





THE COCKTAIL HOUR — SPARKLING:


Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Rosé Brut, Niagara

LCBO No.: 4051

Price: $29.95



Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blanc, California

LCBO No.: 914648

Price: $26.95

Pelham has produced a classy cocktail wine. Perfect for a festive party or as a gift. Gloria Ferrer offers a stylish Euro feeling combined with Californian fun. Equally good for apéritif or for party time. At LCBO Vintages.





LIGHTHEARTED — SPARKLING:


Bottega Petalo il Vino dell Amore Moscato, Italy

LCBO No.: 588780

Price: $11.40

Delish sweet Muscat flavours in a 5 per cent-alcohol wine. The perfect Christmas morning drink.