Cattier Vintage Brut 1996 is Lyle Fujioka's suggestion for a New Year's Eve sparkler. He'd pair it with the soft-shell crab and poke appetizer from Tokkuri-Tei in Kapahulu. Chef Hideaki "Santa" Miyoshi wraps his sweet-spicy poke sushi-roll fashion.

Fine fizz ’n
good food

Bring the bubbly to the table —
don’t just save it for toasting

By the Glass

By Betty Shimabukuro

Now that you've wrestled Christmas to the ground, it's time to start on New Year's. Thankfully, fewer decisions are required of this holiday. Aside from whether to purchase explosives for the household, your principal decisions center on food and drink.

Should you settle on eating out or inviting people in, you'll probably be considering bubbles -- champagne, sparkling wine, a little explosion in a glass.

This year's suggestion: Don't reserve the bubbly for a pre-dinner or a midnight toast. Bring it to the table and make it your dinner wine.

Champagne and other sparkling wines are ideal for serving with food. Chosen well they can bring a lemony edge to a simple fish dish, a clean balance to spicy or greasy foods, a hearty counterweight to red meats.

This year's second suggestion: Go to a good wine shop and have a nice chat with the store clerk about sparklers.

Explain what you'll be eating and how much you'd like to spend -- you'll likely walk away with not just a happy bottle of wine, but also some knowledge. Why devote your own time to research, when you can just glom on to someone else's intelligence?

Which is what we are going to do today. Three of the state's finest wine minds -- Richard Field of R. Field Wine Co., Lyle Fujioka of Fujioka's Wine Merchants and master sommelier Chuck Furuya of Fine Wine Imports -- have come up with New Year's Eve suggestions.

Each has chosen a wine, along with a dish from a local restaurant to match it. Both the wine notes and the recipes are part of this package, so you can put together a perfect party pairing.

Their selections show the range and versatility of these wines -- a classic French champagne, a pretty pink rosé and a fruity Italian sparkling red.

For their suggestions, see "By the Glass".

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