I think everyone will breathe a sigh of relief when 2019 is over.

And most of us will want to toast to the new one, fearfully, hopefully, gratefully.

That means most of us will want a glassful of sparkles to toast with.

I recently went to a “trial” New Year’s Eve dinner at Pallet, one of my favorite restaurants. The creative menu featured five courses, all but one paired with a grower Champagne, the latest bubbly baby of oenophiles. And probably anyone else who likes sparkling wine.

(The first two courses came with a cava, Spanish sparkling.)

Most of the big Champagne houses—Laurent Perrier, Veuve Clicquot, Moet & Chandon, Taittinger, etc.—have a developed style. Grower Champagne is wine made by the grape growers and the blends (cuvees) reflect terroir and winemaker preference. Only five percent of the Champagne imported into the U.S. is grower Champagne.

If proposed tariffs go through, we’ll likely see much less of it, so now is a good year to enjoy.

Here’s the Pallet menu:

Fried oysters with blood orange, pomegranate and crispy kale with Conquilla Cava Brut Rose (100 percent pinot noir.) Available in Utah. Scallops with carrots, saffron and caviar were paired with this one also.

Robiola-frisee salad with pears, chickpeas and prosciutto with Gimonnet Oger Grand Cru

Ocean trout with rye, walnut, leeks and mascarpone with Gaston Chiquet Special Club Brut

Wagyu tartare with peppercorn creme fraiche, fingerling potatoes and caviar with Jean Lallemont Brut Verzenay Grand Cru

Well. I was ready for 2020 to start right away.

P.S. There are some good takeaways from this for your own NYEve dinner:

*Fish, especially trout or salmon—cold-smoked, hot-smoked or poached—goes great with sparkling wine and can be prepared ahead.

*For a seated dinner, scallops are quick, versatile, look pretty on greens and are great with a blood orange aioli (chat by using a good quality mayo) garnished with pomegranate seeds.

*Blend fresh goat cheese with good quality cream cheese and some thyme and olive olive for a creamy dip with croutons.

*If you must have beef, serve it very rare, sliced thin, with rye rounds

*Skip chocolate for a sweet. Instead, serve pound cake fingers with a caramel dip

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