shutterstock_120847780I do love a good New Year’s Eve Party!

I love the whole anticipation of the year to come and the chance to wipe the slate clean and start again.

Most of all I love the bubbles that come with it! A glass of champagne is like a promise of things to come. Those tiny bubbles, some clambering their way to the surface, others taking a more leisurely path, but all hitting the surface in a joyful explosion of happiness. A bubble doesn’t know sadness, only joy. And that joy is infectious!

How else could we wish to celebrate the year that was, and the year that is yet to be?

We started a tradition of sorts with a couple of very special champagne friends about four years ago. We decided that whatever we have planned for New Year’s Eve, we will get together at some point in the day and drink some bubbles together. Each couple chooses a very good bottle to bring along, and we enjoy this last excess together, talking about the year that has been. The anticipation of the ‘tasting’ is almost as good as the actual get together. Almost every time we get together during the year, there is some reference to the ‘end of year’ bottle – a closely guarded secret, to keep the excitement level high! The reference usually goes along the lines of ‘I had something else in mind to drink, but now I am thinking it might make a great end of year bottle…’

This year the rules got broken a little (because as our wise friend reminded us – rules were made to be broken) and there were three bottles. But purely for educational purposes! Our friend wanted to compare a non-vintage and a vintage of the same exceptional house, and was curious to know how the current Pol Roger NV would stand up to the wonderful Sir Winston Churchill 2000. Normally there would be no comparison, but we have it on good authority that the current NV from Pol uses grapes from the 2008 harvest as it’s base year. 2008 is already being tipped as the vintage of the decade, and will rival the fantastic champagnes from 1996….watch this space!

31 Dec 2013And so it was that we were faced with two bottles of Pol Roger and a bottle of Vintage Jacques Selosse – the last in our collection. As we sipped, we talked. As the bubbles rose, so did the memories of the year gone by. It was not all good for me personally, but there were moments of such amazing happiness, that the bad times were swept away.

All three champagnes were sensational. All three had stand out features – a bit like the year gone by! By the time our friends left, a happy glow had descended on us all and we were happy with the year that had been.

Smiles on our faces, we parted ways, each of us off to prepare for the night ahead.

In our case, we had to get ready for a party! We had several close friends coming to help wet the deck of our new home, and we were looking forward to our first ‘real’ party there. We had champagne on ice and a lamb on the spit deliciously scenting the air as its mouth-watering flavours were released by the fire beneath.

There was a sense of excitement in the air. The kids were excited, the dog was excited, and I am sure even the fish in our pond had picked up on the energy around them!

One by one our friends arrived. There were bottles sabered, there were corks that popped, there were stories told and laughter ringing out into the night.

It was a wonderful night, and we are all looking forward to the promise of a wonderful 2014.

I would like to wish everyone a fantastic 2014, and may it involve plentiful bubbles for you all! Borrowing unashamedly from my favourite Old Irish Blessing, here is my 2014 wish for you:

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

May the bubbles rise up to meet you.
May the wine always be in your cellar.
May the bouquet shine warm upon your nose,
and nectar fall soft upon your tongue.
And until we meet again,
May the bottle be held in the palm of your hand.

Happy New Year!