Three sparkling wines to help drive a nail into the corpse of a 2021 that almost no one will remember fondly

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      Well thank the ghost of eternal optimist George Bailey that’s over. When you reflect on your wonderful life a couple of decades from now, you’ll remember 2021 as a year that was only marginally less horrific than 2020. But at least that’s progress. And—not to tempt the gods—but perhaps a sign that 2022 couldn’t possibly get any worse.

      More than usual, you’ll be excused for having an extra glass or two of bubbly as the ball drops around the world. Because it’s been that kind of year—again—feel free to get inventive with the following offering. Experiment with a splash of juice, fancy simple syrup, or grenadine, and you’ll have something more to celebrate tonight beside the fact that the past 12 months are mercifully over.

      Jackson-Triggs Entourage Grand Reserve

      Should you ever be lucky enough to get on a plane again, make sure to bookmark Paris’ impossibly fantastic rue Montorgueil, a pedestrian street that’s been home to the Stohrer bakery. Dating back to the 1700s, the tiny shop—all gold trim, frescoed ceiling and crystal chandeliers—is somehow regal yet welcoming. Translated, you don’t have to be a French lottery winner to load up on insanely addictive rose macaroons, passion fruit-raspberry tarts, and mango eclairs. Pouring a very royal-looking lemony-gold, the aged-for-three-years Entourage Grand Reserve strikes a Stohrer-like balance between kind of fancy and elegant yet not out of reach price-wise. Tart lemon and fresh passion fruit and roasted almond are at the front of a creamy yet aggressively bubbly sommelier go-to. While drinking it anything other than right from the bottle seems somehow a tad wrong, grab the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup and channel the spirit of Paris with a French 75—mango eclairs from Stohrer optional, at least for now.

      Bodacious Bubbles

      Life, unfortunately, isn’t all daily bottles of 1820 Juglar Cuvee and Armand de Brignac (known on these shores as Ace of Spades). Sometimes you gotta go budget-brand to keep the checking account balanced, especially in the weeks following the Christmas-season splurge. Bodacious Bubbles is a straight-ahead, mildly sweet, and semi-dry sparkling wine where you’ll pick up on subtle green pear and semi-ripe peach. Everyone from kids to adults who can’t get enough of the Old Spaghetti Factory loves a good Shirley Temple. Put a sparkling spin on a classic by starting with orange and pineapple juice in a glass, adding a teaspoon of grenadine (artisanal if you’ve got it) and then topping with Bodacious Bubbles. Fancy? No, but sometimes our best memories are simple ones.

      Steller’s Jay Mountain Jay Brut

      There’s something to be said for reliability, this snappy B.C. standby delivering just that with a mix of chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot blanc. Snappy green apples, creamy vanilla, and toasted hazelnuts will get you wondering why you don’t spend more time mastering the art of making a perfect strudel. Refreshingly clean on its own with plenty of fizz, Steller’s Jay Mountain Brut is delicate enough for barbecued sea scallops or lobster tails with champagne vanilla sauce. Want something a little fancier? Give things a herbaceous kick by mixing in a teaspoon of rosemary simple syrup and stirring with a swizzle stick. Happy New Year. And goodbye 2021—here’s hoping the door hits you in the ass on the way out.