Last night we had an Open That Bottle Night (OTBN) and it was very successful. Just a reminder for those who aren’t familiar. OTBN was started by John Bretcher and Dottie Gaiter, wine writers for the Wall Street Journal. The premise is to open that bottle of wine that you’ve been saving for just the perfect occasion, but that event never arrives and more times than not, you end up saving that bottle only to have it end of being past its prime when finally opened. I’m happy to report, all of the bottles were lovely and more importantly, none were past their prime.
Stephanie prepared a grilled tri tip, and we added a mozzarella, heirloom tomato, sprouts, arugula salad with balsamic vinaigrette, and friends brought over a Yukon gold and sweet potato gratin. Another couple brought chocolate cake with chocolate icing and vanilla bean ice cream.
We started the evening off with a tapenade with feta cheese and some sausage stuffed mushrooms that I paired with a 2001 Guenoc Victoria Claret from North Coast. I decanted the wine as I did with all the wines of the night. At first sip, I was afraid it was a goner but it opened up nicely in the glass. After a few minutes, it tasted like a Garnacha with soft rounded out tannins but the color was definitely Cabernet like. Everyone enjoyed this wine.
Our next bottle was a 2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Le Fiarre du pape in the Rhone Valley. The raspberry notes and bit of spice went well with the remaining appetizers and with the meal as we finished it with the first bites of peppery tri tip.
We completed our dinner with a 2000 Fife Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from the Spring Mountain District in Napa Valley. It did not disappoint. I was especially happy that this wine panned out since the winery has gone out of business. It had a nice deep blackberry flavor that was still pronounced after all these years and the tannins had smoothed out beautifully.
We finished the evening with the moist chocolate cake and a Jackson-Triggs Proprietor’s Reserve Vidal Icewine from the Niagara peninsula of Canada. The tropical apricot provided a lovely pairing to the rich chocolatiness of the cake. By the way, that’s not a typo. The one-word spelling of icewine is trademarked by Canada while the German version is spelled as two words.
But now that we’ve held an Open That Bottle Night, and it was so much fun, my new vow is to not wait so long to drink the wines in my lie-down cellar. John and Dottie used to hold this event twice a year so I think Fine Living Enthusiast should continue their wonderful tradition and have another event early next year. Plus, I’m always up for an opportunity to share a fun evening with friends and drink good wines.
How about you? Did any of you join in on the first Fine Living Enthusiast Open That bottle Night? Tell us about your evening.