A couple of weekends ago was Open That Bottle Night (OTBN) the annual event held on the fourth Saturday of February. As I mentioned right before the event, the idea of OTBN is to use it as an excuse to open a bottle that you have been saving for a special occasion, but it remains un-opened since no occasion ever seems “special” enough.
At the time, Lori, over at Dracaena Wines, stated that she was steadfastly against the idea behind OTBN since she felt that every night should be Open That Bottle Night, that “special occasions are made by you not the wine.” When I read her post, I made a comment that I thought OTBN might have been created not for those of us wine geeks that likely have far too much wine and already realize that it is best to drink those wines instead of sitting on them indefinitely.
Instead, I argued, OTBN was designed perhaps for those who are less-wine conscious, those who might need an extra push to crack open a special bottle.
Then I thought about it.
And I decided both of us were right (or both of us were wrong, depending on your general outlook on life).
For me, OTBN is just the beginning. If at first one is reluctant to open a bottle for whatever reason, this might be the push to get them to act. And once they do act, they might eventually realize, as Lori put it:
…[to] live each day as if it’s your last. Drink the dang bottle of wine you dream about whenever you want. Don’t wait for the special day to come to you- reach out and grab the day by the horns and make any day your special day!
So I think in the end, we were in a heated agreement: drink wine. Drink good wine. Just because.
With that in mind, we decided to have two OTBN, one on the “traditional” night, and one the following Saturday.
For the first OTBN, we headed with some good friends to one of Philly’s hottest BYOB restaurants, Laurel, a tiny spot with only about 30 seats, and home of Top Chef winner Nicholas Elmi (I am sure that will mean something to my pal The Food and Wine Hedonist).
1997 Mailly Grand Cru Champagne Cuvée les Echansons: Retail $120. I received this as a gift from a good friend with whom we would be dining that night. Great bubble for a wine pushing twenty years old. Whoa, this is really good. A few hints of fruit, but mostly a sherried nose–but this is why I love old champagnes. Perhaps not to everyone’s taste, but I found this impeccable. Or at least close. Outstanding. 94-96 Points.
1999 Le Duo de Bourgogne Beaune 1er Cru Bressandes: Retail $50. Before the food came, this was frankly disappointing. Then. Food. Whoa. This is amazing. A bit of fruit, but the complexity is off the charts. Not sure what else to say but I am going to steal my wife’s glass. A little switcherooo. Yeah, that is how I roll, I just hope she does not notice…. Whoa. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
1999 Bollinger Champagne La Grande Année: Retail $100. Whoa. The last bottle of this we had was problematic but not this one. Whoa. Green apple and caramel on the nose. Toasty biscuits immediately on the palate with an amazing depth on the mid-palate. The finish lasts for minutes. Whoa (that’s three for those of you keeping track). Outstanding. 94-96 Points.
1979 Château Les Ormes de Pez: Retail $??? Whoa. Green pepper and raspberries on the nose with a bit of leather. On the palate the secondary characteristics come thru initially then comes the fruit. And the finish. Whoa. I did not expect much but this was ridiculous. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
We went through a few more bottles (but I generally do not write notes on wine that other people bring–I am already pretentious enough, I do not need to add any more to it), and one really stood out–it was fabulous.