Open That Bottle Night!
And coming soon ...
Open That Bottle Night (OTBN) is a wine event created in 1999 by the then-wine journalists of the Wall Street Journal, John Brecher and Dorothy Gaiter. The event has now become an annual celebration held on the last Saturday in February where thousands of people celebrate their “special” bottles by opening and sharing them with friends and family.
The idea behind OTBN is that we often save special or expensive bottles of wine for “just the right occasion.” Instead, Brecher and Gaiter implored us to open the bottle and enjoy it now, because let’s be honest, the occasion may never be the right occasion. I am terrible about this - I am a wine hoarder. In particular, I hold on to wine from my travels, because I’m convinced I’ll either never go back or I can’t find it here in the States.
A perfect example was my attempt this year at OTBN. I took a deep breath and decided to open a bottle of 2009 Bordeaux I brought back from France in 2012. That trip remains special to me — it was my first trip to France, my first international trip on my own, and my first “press trip” (for my wine blog). There were a lot of firsts. On that trip, I fell in love with France and French wine. When I finally had to leave, I loaded my suitcase down with several bottles and when I got home, well, I held on to them. Here we are 11 years later, and I finally decided to crack open one of those bottles.
The first thing I noticed about the bottle is that somewhere along the way, it had lost its capsule.* I took a closer look through the bottle and wasn’t encouraged at the state of the cork. But I popped it open anyway. My next red flag was that the cork was oddly soft at its top, although it remained intact when I extracted it. I immediately decanted the wine and let it sit overnight. When I tried the wine the next day, I was terribly disappointed. The color was tinged with brown (red flag!). I usually love the flavors of leather or earth, plums, and red fruits in a Bordeaux, but there wasn’t a lot with this wine; my exact phrase was “flabby.”
Some Googling informed me that this wasn’t an overly pricey wine anyway. But it held sentimental value for me. Brandon looked at me and said, “Life is too short to drink bad wine.” He’s right.
Now, I did fail OTBN when I pulled out a 2008 bottle of Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon following my Bordeaux experiment. I Googled the price, had a small heart attack, and put the Caymus back in storage. That one really will have to wait for a truly special occasion! So I’m still hoarding wine. Baby steps!
*The capsule is the foil that covers the cork. It serves an important purpose in that it keeps air from getting into the cork and thus the bottle.
I am in the middle of a wonderful and funny book called Murder Your Employer: The McMasters Guide to Homicide, written by Rupert Holmes. (Random Trivia: He wrote Escape (The Piña Colada Song). It is the next book on my list to write about.
Also on my TBR is The Mitford Affair, because I have a slight obsession with Nancy Mitford and her fascinating family. They make for wonderful historical fiction. I’ve started Victory City by Salman Rushdie, but it requires a level of attention I haven’t yet been able to give it. And finally, my monthly book club/book shop Heywood Hill sent me The Things We Do to Our Friends, which looks like an intriguing Dark Academia style book. On that note, I still have the queen of all Dark Academic books, Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, waiting to read.
So there’s a lot coming soon, and I better get back to my books!
Sorry about your wine.