When my friend Steve*, wine lover and generous host, announced he was having a New Year’s Eve Party, I headed over with a bottle of 1980 Sauternes (a gift) to share with a few verified wine geeks, plus 30 or so non-wine geeky friends. Throughout the night, Steve opened 14 bottles of Champagne—some that guests brought, but many from his own small collection.
Steve, unfortunately, forgot to buy cheap bottles to slake people’s thirst for sparkling wine post-midnight, and at 1 a.m., some of his friends demanded more Champagne. Reticent to open another spendy bottle for his toasted guests, he did what any desperate host might do—he created his own. When no one but a few wine geeks were looking, he reached out the window to grab an inexpensive Tocai Friulano chilling on the fire escape and carefully poured it into an empty magnum Champagne bottle. For bubbles, he added San Pellegrino followed by seltzer water. Then, his unsuspecting wife walked around, pouring the nearly-clear-but-bubbly wine for her dancing friends.