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NYE: Drink the ‘Good Stuff’ First

Our food and all-things-beverage editor shares his top three NYE booze picks—best enjoyed in this order.

The key to NYE imbibing (and it’s applicable all year long frankly), is to front-end load the wines. I hate to be the voice of reason, but first and foremost wine is an intoxicant. Your senses and taste buds are at their very best your first drink—and by the time the ball drops at midnight you can’t tell Dom Perignon from Dominic Toretto. So I won’t be saving my “good” stuff for later in the evening and you shouldn’t either.

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Bottle #1: Taittinger Comte de Champagne 2005 $200

There is an undeniable elegance about great Champagne and choosing your brand is as personal as choosing what sort of car your drive. Flashy? Cristal will do. Classicist? Dom. Serious oenophile? Krug. But for me there’s something about Taittinger’s top cuvee that always sends a little frisson of excitement—it’s esoteric, yet refined. It’s thoughtful, it’s classy…and it doesn’t hurt that James Bond drank it (back when Champagnes didn’t have to pay to be 007’s choice).

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Bottle #2: Blue Mountain Brut $24

$200 to $24 is quite the jump, but only because Blue Mountain prices their wines so flipping low. I wrote in the magazine last month how B.C.’s sparkling producers—Summerhill, Stellar’s Jay, Tantalus, Bella—are simply crushing it these days and this wine would be priced double if it came from 6,000 miles east. A winner.

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Bottle #3: Casal Garcia Vinho Verde $11

By this point I’m feeling no pain so what I want is something bracing with a small amount of bubbles. This classic from Portugal will never let you down and it’s low in alcohol so the night can taper off with dignity. 

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