A Couple of Open That Bottle Nights

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).

It looks like an egg, but it wasn't. Of course I was not actually paying attention when the server told us what it actually was. I do know that it was really good, though (does that count?).

It looks like an egg, but it wasn’t. Of course I was not paying attention when the server told us what it actually was. I do know that it was really good, though (does that count?).

MaillyI should have taken more photos of the meal, but I was a bit preoccupied (obsessed) with the wine (#ShockedFace).

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.

Beaune

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.

BollyOur second OTBN occurred a week later at our friends’ house out in the ‘burbs. They are wino types, but also a decade or so younger, so I thought bringing an older bottle of something might be fun.

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.

Ormes

The price tag reads $8.98.

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.

Not sure if this was the last bottle, but it was certainly one of the best....

Not sure if this was the last bottle, but it was certainly one of the best….

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About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Bordeaux, Burgundy, Cabernet Sauvignon, Champagne, Viognier, Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to A Couple of Open That Bottle Nights

  1. What was that food you photographed? It’s not an egg? What is it?

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  2. I can see why your head was turned, what a great line-up! I wished I was there to try them. The Bollinger brought up good memories of my visit to Champagne in 1993. We visited Bollinger, Moet & Chandon, and Ruinart–needless to say, those experiences are unforgettable. The Alban, it’s so damn good and just 10 minutes away from my Pismo Beach home. But it’s not easily found even when you just want his estate Viognier. That’s why I miss the old Hospice du Rhone where I had the opportunity to taste barrel samples of his reserve labels like Seymour, Reva, and Lorraine. Unfortunately, John Alban decided 20-years of HdR was enough.

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  3. Stefano says:

    Nice selection of wines! I have to say I have never been disappointed by Chateau Les Ormes de Pez. It has consistently delivered.

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  4. Firstly, I want to thank you. I consider it the greatest honor when something that I write makes someone think. (I guess that is the educator in me) It doesn’t matter if they agree or disagree with my thoughts, but if I trigger a conversation, that is what it is all about. That is something that I have fallen in love with in terms of blogs. I love reading other peoples opinions and the conversations that ensue because of them. Now onto the wine! That is a great line-up. I have never heard of Alban, but being so close to us in SLO, I will need to check them out.

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    • No! Thanks to you! I agree that healthy discussion is wonderful and is something that is seriously lacking in this country these days. Our politicians are leading the way in the degrading of American discourse, sad to say. As for the Alban, prepare to fork out a bit of cash….

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  5. OK really, you need to tell us what looks like an egg is not an egg. Dying here wanting to know!

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  6. I might be having too many of those nights, LOL.

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