ENTERTAINING: Last Orders for 2008; Planning on Throwing a New Year's Eve Party but Not Sure What Bubbly to Serve to Suit Your Pocket? Resident Wine Expert Neil Cammies Picks Some Great Wines to Make Sure Your Party Goes off with Plenty of Fizz
Byline: Neil Cammies
JEEPERS, 2008 has passed by so quickly it could have been wearing a pair of Usain Bolt's gold daps. So the time has come to welcome the new year in with a bang, or at least a pop.
I find the best way to get the party going is serve little titbits or canapes that can be eaten with one hand, while enjoying a glass of something nice in the other.
But what wine to serve? And how much should you spend?
When it comes to price, not all of us can serve Champagne throughout the night, but it is nice to have a glass of fizz on hand as you greet your guests.
There are plenty of nice bubbles to be had at a reasonable cost. Look to Spain for Cava, and it's probably best to go for the well-known houses as a good quality guide.
They can be found from a variety of regions such as Catalonia, Aragon, La Rioja and Valencia with brands including Cordorniu, Freixenet and Marques De Monistrol.
Something like a Campo Viejo, the well-known Rioja house, will come as white or rose and can be found for way under a tenner.
Also look for an Italian job, a Prosecco to be precise. This wine has had a renaissance of late and is softer in style with its fresh peardrop ways, so it doesn't become tiresome and acidic.
The New World is ably represented by sparkling wines. Jacob's Creek Chardonnay/Pinot Noir is a little belter, so too is New Zealand's Pelorus from the iconic Cloudy Bay stable.
Others bear an uncanny resemblance to their famous parent Champagne houses, Mumm Cuvee Napa Brut, Green Point, part of Moet & Chandon, and Roederer Estate Quartet, made by the company that brings you that blingy R&B classic, Cristal.
Sometimes only Champagne will do and there are now so many different styles out there it's hard to know which one to go for.
Probably the most famous fictional imbiber of the fine wine is James Bond, and who are we to argue about his choice of fizz?
Of course you could go for Bollinger or Dom Perignon. But there is one Champagne house that his creator Ian Fleming goes for in his books, and that's Taittinger.
The Taittinger Prelude has the classic white gold colour and a fine bready nose. Big stone-fruit hit on the mid-palate, which is full and rich and develops in the glass showing the pedigree of the 100% Grand Cru Cote des Blancs grapes.
To frisk things up a bit the Taittinger Rose has a vivacious mousse and soft red fruit aromas.
The strawberry fruit really comes to the fore in the mouth and shows a little spice in the finish. …