Monday, February 27, 2012

Open That Bottle Night

Since Saturday was the last Saturday of February that means it was "open that bottle night."  John Brecher and Dorothy Gaiter came up with this idea during their stint as the wine correspondents for the Wall Street Journal.  The basic premise is that all of us put away bottles of wine that are a rare treat or hold some sort of emotional grip on us.  They are the bottles that never get opened because we are always 'waiting for that special occasion.'  Mr. Brecher and Ms. Gaiter declared the last Saturday in February as the special occasion to open that bottle. 

My bottle for the event this year was a 1997 Domaine Zind Humbrecht Clos Windsbuhl Pinot Gris, a nearly fifteen year old white wine from Alsace that I have had for some time and never found the reason to open.

Gorgeous, golden honey color to this wine and I loved looking at it in the glass.  The nose was strong in apricots, lychee, and mixed, sweet herbs.  There was nothing shy about it, nor was there anything subtle.  The aromas were strong and distinct.  The wine was very viscous in the mouth, oily and full.  The apricots were there in the taste with just a touch of pineapple and citrus.  The remarkable thing to me was the sense of honey in the taste, or more correctly the precursor of honey in the taste.  There was a feel and a sense that this wine was going to turn sweet, as though honey with its wonderful aromas was just off the tip of one's tongue.  The wine's body signaled sweet, but the wine never went there.  Instead one got some wonderful acidity and an wonderfully long, viscous finish that ended with a sense of dry herbs.  Fascinating wine and one that I spent most of the evening savoring before vacuum sealing it for the second day. 

Dinner was Alsatian as well, a Coq au Riesling, chicken browned and simmered in chicken stock, Riesling, bacon, mushrooms, pearl onions and finished with a small dose of heavy cream.  Good dish but the wine was the star of the evening.

On Sunday a friend stopped by with his OTBN bottle and we began with the Pinot Gris.  It had lost nothing overnight, and it gained a much better set of aromas - more complex.  His OTBN bottle was equally as good.  It was a 2003 Torbreck Descendant from Australia, a wine that was 92% Shiraz and 8% Viognier.  Deep, dark and wonderful wine that should last another ten years. 

14% alcohol and $70.

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