“Sometimes,” Mark Twain once said, “too much to drink is barely enough.” He also kindly furnished his own corollary: “Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.” In both cases, he could have been talking about New Year's Eve, now only a week away and arguably the world's most convenient excuse to party. History's most iconic figures have spoken volumes about the date's place in alcohol lore—in more than a few cases, that's probably how they got to be history's most iconic figures.
And all the while, Champagne—which is nothing more than a sparkling wine out of Northeastern France—has been a stalwart element in our comings and goings every Dec. 31. The problem is that its special fermentation process translates into a little pricier item than mainstream wines, except in the case of the Gloria Ferrer Brut, out of the Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards near Sonoma. This one is less abrasive than its costlier cousins, and that's a good thing for two reasons: The effervescence doesn't obscure the fruity mildness (meaning you can stomach a little more in one sitting without succumbing to the gas in the bubbles), and you're getting it for $16.78 a bottle (meaning you can stomach a little more in one sitting without succumbing to the hit in your wallet).
So have a happy New Year's Eve and beyond, and give this Ferrer a try while you're at it. It's available at better wine stores, as surely as Twain's legacy is ready for the taking at the local library and elsewhere. Come to think of it, maybe he was hipping us to our own holiday folly when he graced us with one of his more familiar digs: “Man is the only animal that blushes—or needs to.”