Sunday, March 1, 2009

Open That Bottle Night

For the last ten years John Brecher and Dorothy Gaiter who write the "Tastings" column for the Wall Street Journal have been promoting the last Saturday in February as "Open that Bottle Night." Put briefly, everyone has a special bottle or two that they have been saving for a special occasion that never seems to come. OTBN is promoted as the time to open that bottle and relive the memories of what made it a special purchase or acquisition.

There was a small gathering last night to celebrate OTBN and there were three wines with different reasons for being opened. The first was another bottle of the Reggiano Lambrusco discussed here in this blog. It's the wine that started my long journey, and as it turns out the journey of two others at the party. Each person had a funny story about Lambrusco and it set a great tone for the evening. This is not a wine to take seriously, just a wine to have fun with.

The second wine was one that I opened to "peek in the window." I bought a fair number of 2005 Burgundies when they came on the market and they are stored away. While I've opened a few regional and village wines from the vintage I thought it was time to check in on how some of the others were progressing. The 2005 Louis Jadot Clos de Malte Santenay seemed like a good candidate. It was medium colored in the glass with a nice burgundy color. There was a hint of earth, but mostly bright cherries and ripe strawberries in the nose and the taste. There was great acidity and finish and over the course of the evening the wine just kept improving in the glass. It went great with some chicken breasts with pine nuts and a side of filled pasta. The wine is more than drinkable but shows enough of everything that it needs a couple of more years to really open.

The real hit of the night was opened by friends whose reason for opening it was that they always wanted to drink a bottle of the wine. It was a 2002 Stags Leap Vineyard Cask 23 from the Stags Leap area of Napa Valley. This was a dark wine in the glass with a nose of cassis and dark cherries, a hint of cinnamon and vanilla, and maybe just a bit of pipe tobacco. The taste was fully dark fruits and berries, a little spice and a hint of oak. The tannins were fully in balance as was the acid. Everything was together to make this more old world rather than new Napa style. It was elegant. My only complaint was with the finish. There was a moderate length to it, but the Cask 23's I've had in the past lingered and slowly faded on the finish. This wine finished with a taste that was there one second, then totally gone the next second. I went back to it several times through the evening and while the last taste was the best that finish was still sudden. Very interesting.

It was a fun evening.

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