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Drinks: Wines and Champagnes for New Year's Eve

Valentine's Day is the perfect time for romance.

Valentine's Day is the perfect time for romance. Here are some ideas for dinners, drinks and more. Photo Credit: Stock.xchg

It's definitely time to get those bubbles, people. New Year's Eve  should sparkle, and for less than $20, you can celebrate with the dependably fine Chandon Blanc de Noirs, a fruity and easygoing Californian; and the crisp Piper Sonoma Brut. For $12: very modest Barefoot Cellars Barefoot Bubbly Extra Dry and Moscato Spumante.

Italy's proseccos are excellent alternatives, many less than $15. Zonin Prosecco is especially good, as Ca'Montini, Lunetta, Mionetto, and Martini & Rossi, better known for its sweeter bubbly, Asti.

Spain's cavas offer well-priced flair. Consider the $15 CodorniuPinot Noir Rose Brut, the $13 2007 Tarantas Cava Extra Brut, and the fruity $13 Poema Cava. Australia contributes with the $18, scarlet-hued Wyndham Estate Bin 555 Sparkling Shiraz. Yes, Shiraz, big red, here made festive and fizzy.

To stay French, but not buy Champagne, sample a fruity, delicate Cremant d'Alsace. In the $18-$28 range are commendable cremants from Ruhlmann, Aubrey et Christian Binner, and Albert Mann.

Vintage Champagne gets pricey. Nonvintage Champagnes, however, are an option. Charles Heidsieck Brut RéserveChampagne - lively, graceful, harmonious, for about $50; and the elegant, inviting Taittinger Brut La Française, about $45.

To showcase American sparkling wine, creamy, mainly chardonnay 2002 Schramsberg J. Schram; or the superb, full-bodied pinot noir-driven2002 Schramsberg Reserve (each $105).

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