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On the off chance that more revelers than previously announced show up on your doorstep New Year's Eve, now is the time to lay in some inexpensive sparkling wine. And if you don't use it all, there will be plenty of occasions later in the year.
Barcelona loves its Cava, the sparkling wine made in Sant' Sadurni south of the city. Though you could drink wonderful, sophisticated Cavas at Barcelona wine bars, until recently, much of those imported to this country were the cheaper, very rustic bubblies -- serviceable in a pinch, but nothing you'd go out of your way to drink.
Cava Barcino Brut is definitely a cut above -- way above. Made from a blend of grape varietals indigenous to this part of Spain -- Xarello, Macabeo and Parellada -- and aged on its lees for over a year, the méthode Champenoise is a pale gold in color, with tiny bubbles, a light, nutty fragrance and a lingering citrus finish. It's also quite dry. All this, and at less than $15 a bottle.
-- S. Irene Virbila
Region: Penedès, Spain
Price: Less than $15
What it goes with: Roasted nuts, hors d'oeuvres, tapas and smoked salmon
Where to find it: City Sip in Los Angeles, (213) 48309463, www.citysipla.com; Domaine LA in Los Angeles, (323) 932-0280, www.domaine547.com; K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood, (323) 464-9463, www.klwines.com; Larchmont Village Wine, Spirits & Cheese in Los Angeles, (323) 856-8699; and Silverlake Wine in Los Angeles, (323) 662-9024; www.silverlakewine