Champagne. When you can't think of what to give, buy a bottle of champagne. When you've been invited to a dinner and they ask you to bring wine: bring bubbly. See, champagne is an event of its own and it doesn't have to go with the food so your hosts will always be happy to receive it. The cooks could be making barbecue, stir-fry, cassoulet or tamales and you could still start the evening off with a bottle of Gruet. Speaking of Gruet, they've got a new pink sparkling wine that is absolutely beautiful and not anything like the sickly sweet pink champagne that you drank on New Year's Eve when you were 17. Gruet Rosé costs the same (about $13) as their Blanc de Noirs, but they only made a small batch of the stuff. You can still find it at Jubilation (Lomas and Carlisle), Cost Plus World Market (Menaul and Carlisle) and at the winery (8400 Pan American NE). The smart thing to do is to buy champagne by the case. It's not that expensive and you can keep it in your fridge, ready to go whenever you need something to take to a last-minute get together, birthday party, tree-trimming soirée or New Year's bash.
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