Saturday, December 31, 2016


By Doc Lawrence

The New Year begs to be introduced with flutes of Champagne. The tradition is integral to that magic celebratory moment of ringing out the old and ringing in the new.

In the South, Champagne enjoyment recalls special moments in history and folklore, notably Captain Rhett Butler’s daring runs through the Union blockade during the Civil War to bring Champagne to Charleston, Savannah and New Orleans. Ever the clever entrepreneur, Butler assured his safety by sharing his bottled cargo with generals and politicians (and their consorts), with no regard to allegiance.

The choices for New Year’s bubbly are vast. Personally, I opt for the sentimental Laurent-Perrier Rosé, pricey, but who cares on this one evening? There are many other sparkling wines available and if you prefer something from the good old USA, the selections are huge. California and New York state keep the wine shop shelves stocked and one I recommend is from New Mexico: Gruet, highly-regarded and fairly priced. You’ll experience no difficulty in locating it.

There are outstanding sparkling wines from Southern vineyards. Wolf Mountain from Georgia is beautifully constructed as is Biltmore Estate from the Asheville, NC winery.

Let’s not linger. With only a few hours left to shop, we’ll head out to the market and find a bottle or two. No need to wait until the midnight hour, though. Festive Champagne and other quality sparkling wines pair with almost all food and make an impressive aperitif.

Every calendar transition involves the mystery of the unknown. We hope for the best. Some are good at making resolutions. The best ones will be so profound that the Blue Ridge Mountains will tremble.

May your New Year bring good health, more friends, dreams galore and a trove of pleasant surprises. Champagne, by the way, is the preferred beverage for dreamers.

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