25 Ways to Spend New Year's Eve
Posh parties, cheap cheer...
   
Where to Dine on Dec. 31
Tables worth clinking fizz over.
   
New Year's Eve Party List
Plenty of fizzy, tizzy times at clubs all over the city.
   
New Year's Day Brunch
Greet 2005 with a peaceful brunch and a hangover tonic.
   
New Year's Day Poetry
Two enormous poetry slams compete for your attention.
   
Museum Cheat Sheet
When are the big museums open that weekend?
   
The Best Champagne
A blind-test of six brands in three separate “flights.”
   
   
 
The Everything Guide to Holiday Parties
How to throw one, behave at one, and survive the aftermath.
 
   
Celebrate Over Drinks
Cocktails Under Lights
Cozy Bars
with Fireplaces

Meeting the Gang?
The Season's Hot Drinks
 
   
   
 
Concerts
From classical riffs on Handel and Bach to pop extravaganzas.
   
Trees & Lights
The most dazzling light displays this town has to offer.
   
Holiday Shows
The Rockettes, the Nutcracker suites and more.
   
The Season's Best Displays
Don't miss the gingerbread houses, train shows, and tours.
 
   
Holiday Markets & Fairs
From Grand Central to Union Square to the Bluefly Outlet.
 
   
Children's Events
Blooming Babies, American Girls, and a Three Little Pigs White Christmas.
 
   
Santas in Town
Where to bring the kids (or the pooch) to see St. Nick.
 
   
What to Give Everyone
Picks for the artsy aunt, 5-year-old, dad and more. Plus, one-stop shopping maps.
 
 
   
 
   
Holiday Recipes
The city’s top chefs dreamed up the recipes. The city’s finest sommeliers chose the wines.
 
   
Pie Time
Here are nine of the best, whipped cream not included.
 
   
Rockefeller Center Restaurants
If you’re daring (or foolhardy) enough to brave the gawkers and visit the Rockefeller Center tree, you’ll need to refuel soon after.
 
   

Toasts of the Town
If you've been invited to dinner this holiday season, that bottle of Mumm parked next to the cash register just won't cut it as a present for your host. Some of New York's top chefs, sommeliers, and restaurateurs gave us their picks on what bottles to bring — plus a little background info on each to impress your host.

By T SAHARA MEER

 

Eric Benn, Restaurateur
The Bubble Lounge

Under $30: Paul Goerg Brut Tradition Champagne, $28.
This non-vintage bubbly is bought from the first press of the season and then fermented by the small champagne house. "A true value that's always consistent from year-to-year."

Over $30: Dampierre Family Reserve Champagne, 1990, $75.
"This is a beautiful bottle of champagne to bring as a gift." The muzzle that holds down the cork is made from hemp string and tied in the old French method (sans a knot). It also comes with a small pair of gold scissors attached for opening.


Patrick Bickford, Sommelier
Washington Park

Under $30: Franco Martinetti Bric dei Banditi, Barbera d’Asti, 2000, $15.
Martinetti is a careful and selective winemaker from the Piedmont region of Italy. "He doesn't use wood in the aging process, so the juiciness and brightness of the Barbera isn't compromised."

Over $30: Jean Milan Blanc de Blancs "Terres de Noel" Grand Cru, $55.
The name translates as "Land of Christmas," which seems fitting for a holiday soiree. The grapes come from 45-year-old vines and, unlike some used in other champagnes, aren't frozen after picking, making the end product more flavorful.


Hugh Crickmore, Sommelier
Marseille


Under $30: Marcel Lapierre Morgon Beaujolais, 2000, $20.
Beaujolais has been getting a bad rap for years due to the mass production and marketing of the Beaujolais Nouveaus. "The region actually produces a variety of complex wines like this one, which could be a dead ringer for a Burgundy," Crickmore says. "The wine is hand-made, the bottle has a wax-finished cork, and it goes great with rich holiday dishes."

Over $30: Laurent Perrier Rose NV, $70.
"Wine geeks will love the complexity of this 100% Pinot Noir champagne, and the crispness makes it an excellent palate cleanser between courses. The bottle, not to mention the salmon color of the champagne itself, are both stunning and quite festive."

Sam DeMarco, Chef/Restaurateur
Merge, First, District

Under $30: Moscato d'Asti, Saracco, Piedmont '01, $15.
"One of my guys brought this sparkling muscat in," says DeMarco, "and I was having a taste in the kitchen and thought 'Wow, this is great for the holidays!' It's fun-tasting, bubbly and sweet. It would go well with dessert or before, as an apéritif."

Over $30: Pol Roger Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill Champagne 1993, $140.
This one is also a favorite of the Bubble Lounge's Eric Benn. It seems that Churchill was a longtime friend of the Pol-Roger family and would enjoy a glass of their 1945 champagne every morning. This 1993 is blended to be a replica of Churchill's favorite, so the family has kept the formula a secret to discourage copycats.


Greg Harrington, Sommelier and Beverage Director of B.R. Guest Restaurants
Blue Fin, Fiamma, Blue Water Grill

Under $30: Canada de Haza,Tempranillo, 1999, $15.
"Ribera del Duero has become the new Rioja of Spain," says Harrington. Young winemakers are defecting to this region to escape traditional methods and experiment with new processes. "The result has been wines with more flexibility without sacrificing structure."

Over $30: Gaston Chiquet Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne, 1996, $80.
The vines of this 100% chardonnay were planted in 1935 by Nicolas Chiquet's grandfather, who is possibly the first vintner to plant the grape in this bastion of Pinot Noir. "The high acidity makes it a perfect complement to any dish."

Zarela Martinez, Chef/Restaurateur
Zarela, Danzón

Under $30: L.A. Cetto, Chenin Blanc, Baja California, Mexico, 1999, $16.
It's no surprise that the fiercely proud Zarela's choice of wine would be from her native Mexico. Her homeland is the oldest wine producer in the Americas, dating back to the time of the Aztecs. Martinez likes this Chenin Blanc because it's "light, sexy and very flexible."

Over $30: Herradura Añejo, $60.
"Well, it's not a party without a nice bottle of tequila," says Martinez, "and what doesn't taste good with a little Herradura?" She's even got a recipe for her sister Aida's "Drunken Turkey" basted in the agave liquor on her website: www.zarela.com.

 
Danny Meyer, Chef/Restaurateur
Blue Smoke, Gramercy Tavern , Union Square Cafe, Tabla, Eleven Madison Park

Under $30: G. Huet Vouvray Sec, 1999, $22.
"Perhaps the most versatile white wine I know of. It works equally well as an apéritif, or is a perfect match with shellfish, white truffles or turkey. A remarkable value, too."

Over $30: Fontodi Chianti Classico Reserva, any vintage from 1994-99, $40.
"I would be thrilled if someone brought this to my house for dinner, because it goes with all the rich foods that I love!" exclaims Meyer. "But, if I did choose to squirrel it for myself, I would store it safely for a handful of years, knowing that it would age gracefully in the bottle."

 

 

 
Over $30 List
 
  Dampierre Family Reserve Champagne, 1990, $75.
Jean Milan Blanc de Blancs "Terres de Noel" Grand Cru Champagne, $55.
Laurent Perrier Rose NV, $70.
Pol Roger Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill Champagne 1993, $140.
Gaston Chiquet Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne, 1996, $80.
Herradura Añejo Tequila, $60.
Fontodi Chianti Classico Reserva, Any vintage from 1994-99, $40.
 
Under $30 List
 
  Paul Goerg Brut Tradition Champagne, $28.
Franco Martinetti Bric dei Banditi, Barbera d’Asti, 2000, $15.
Marcel Lapierre Morgon Beaujolais, 2000, $20.
Moscato d'Asti, Saracco, Piedmont '01, $15.
Candada de Haza,Temprenillo, 1999, $15.
L.A. Cetto, Chenin Blanc, Baja California, Mexico, 1999, $16.
G. Huet Vouvray Sec, 1999, $22.

 
Where to Buy
 
 

Crossroads Liquors, 55 W 14th St., 212-924-3060.
More Wine Stores

 

 
 
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