Saturday, March 7, 2009

2009 Open That Bottle Night

Every year, on the last Saturday night in February, wine drinkers around the world open up those special bottles that they've been holding on to for whatever reason. Sounds grand, doesn't it?

Oh, it could've been...it really could've been. We've never taken part in this, so we wanted to do it up. We were going to have a few people over, perhaps grill up some steak or whatever, hang out & enjoy the food, company, & of course, the vino. Due to my recent malady (read below for those of you that don't know what I'm talking about), I suppose it wasn't meant to be. Boo hoo. I'll live.

Doug & I have quite a bit of wine. We go to tastings around town regularly, & we always buy at least 1 bottle. Don't get me wrong - we only have about 75-80 bottles at this time, so our collection is not that impressive, & we don't have a cellar. Yet. We have room in the basement for one, so maybe someday. Anyway, we've got a few bottles that we've been hanging on to, although we don't really have a plan for any of them.

2004 Ca'Marcanda Promis: A Super Tuscan out of Bolgheri, one of Italy's youngest DOC's, & one of the many fine wines from Angelo Gaja. We were really excited about this wine when we bought it: 55% Merlot, 35% Shiraz - both from the Bolgheri estate - and 10% Sangiovese from Montalcino. We picked this up during a class at Lukas Liquor, where we met our friends Shan & Sean. We'll probably drink this one very soon....

2003 Chateau de Sales, Heritiers de Lambert: This wine is from Pomerol, a tiny region in Bordeaux. I'm not going to pretend to know a ton about Bordeaux because there's just way too much information & it can be very confusing...you know, because it's all French. What I can tell you about Pomerol is that it's on the Right Bank of Bordeaux, which means that about 2/3 of the vines are Merlot. Most of the remainder is Cab Franc, with some Cabernet Sauvignon, & a spot or 2 of Malbec thrown in for good measure. Pomerol is also home to Chateau Pétrus, one of the most expensive and sought-after wines of the world. It's been said that wines from the region can be "sensuous & life-changing". Hmmm...our wine cost enough for about half of a drop of Chateau Pétrus, & we doubt that it'll be life-changing, but we do have hope that it will be wonderful. We had a taste of it when we bought it at Lukas Liquor, & it was!

2003 Chateau Beau-Site Cru Bourgeois Superieur: We bought this from The Wine Barrel. Another Bordeaux, only this time from Ste. Estephe on the Left Bank. Again, I don't know much, but generally speaking, wines from the Left Bank are mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, with some Merlot. I wouldn't doubt if there's a little Petit Verdot, Cab Franc, &/or Malbec in the mix, but it's practically impossible to know for sure...again, it's French. I'm not saying that to diss on the French as a people, but their wine politics are very, very odd. Every time I think of studying to be a sommelier (for no other reason than my own amusement), I think of France & think otherwise. Back to the wine...it can probably be aged for a long time, but seriously...why???

2004 Ferrari Carano Tresor: In a word? Yum. We absolutely adore this wine (& most wines from Ferrari Carano), & we were thrilled when it was featured at a tasting at The Wine Barrel. It's a Bordeaux blend that contains all 5 Bordeaux varietals - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, & Cabernet Franc. We really need to pick up the 2005 as well because it's that good.

2004 Ojai Stolpman Vineyard Syrah: I remember this wine well from a tasting at Lukas Liquor a while back, & I was immediately infatuated. The Pinnacle Import reps, Bill & our pal Amy, served an astounding beef brisket with a lineup of 6 different Syrahs, maybe 7. This was a rare thing at Lukas, & it made a big impact on me. Syrah can be a tough varietal to "get", & as with most grapes, there are many, many winemaking styles. I recall that this wine was very dark, almost a blue-black, & was smoky with blueberry & blackberry. Delish.

2004 Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon: We picked this up from yet another tasting at Lukas, their special "Big Red" tasting that will probably be on hold indefinitely because of - you guessed it - the economy. That's so sad. Anyway, this wine is 100% Cab, estate grown, & a blend from different vineyards. I remember smoooooth... & very well balanced. We've had several wines from Anderson's Conn Valley & really enjoyed them. Maybe we'll get to try some of their whites someday, but they really are known for their reds.

2005 Long Shadows Pedestal: Lucy & I attended a tasting at Veritas last year, & we were both very impressed with the Long Shadows wines. The 2005 Pedestal is 80% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 7% Cabernet Franc, & absolutely incredible. Wines from Long Shadows are really cool for many reasons, & their story is one of them. The grapes are grown in Washington, & the wines are a collaboration between Allen Shoup, the winemaker in Washington, & renowned winemakers from around the world. The Pedestal is a joint venture with Michael Rolland of Pomerol (& now we know a little about that place), & it's delightful. It was quite a hard choice to make - most of the wines were about $60 a pop, except for the Riesling...but Veritas sold out of that fast. For good reason, the Poet's Leap is stellar, & my favorite Riesling ever. The fact that I have a favorite Riesling is promising...I'm coming along in my appreciation for Riesling. Ah, but I digress...the Pedestal. So very, very good!

2002 Elderton Command: Another purchase from the Big Red tasting at Lukas, & perhaps aside from the Ornellaia, this Barossa Valley Shiraz was the star of the show. To those of you that are impressed by such things, Parker gave this baby a 95 & that's freakin' high. I remember this was huge, larger than life...stunning, actually. No, wait - what was stunning was that Doug grabbed a bottle of this with no discussion - it was $75, more than we've ever paid for wine. What made this even crazier is that before tasting this wine, Doug didn't even like Shiraz! For that matter, Australian wines rarely top my list of favorite wines, either, but hey - I'm really excited about this wine. In fact, I'm thinking about drinking this for my upcoming 40th birthday, but we'll see. Doctor's orders, you know.

So, there you have it, the pride of our "cellar", although there are several more that I could add. Maybe we'll have a belated Open That Bottle Night sometime, or maybe we'll crack a couple bottles open with just a few friends. Who knows what we'll do, but I can tell you this much -- any day that these wines are opened will be an occasion in itself.

5 comments:

noble pig said...

I have never heard of this tradition,,,however I think it should happen every month. Your wines sound great and I can't wait to hear your critiques of them.

Danny said...

Very nice collection you are building.

I never needed an occasion to open good wine. In the past when I did that, I tried to match the importance of the occasion with the wine. Nothing important goes on in my life anyway, so I agree with you that the wine is reason enough...

LucyinStLou said...

I always forget about OTBN! Needless to say, we missed it again this year. We've been going through and opening a lot from our trip to Napa since everything is peaking/peaked. If you have to choose just one...I think the old world options will hold longer. However, given the fact that you are recovering so nicely, why not make it a month of open those bottles?

Margot Is Your Hero said...

I took part - opened a bottle of Cherry Devyne - a wine made of sour cherries from PA, with lots and lots of chocolate to go with it. Yummers.

Rosie said...

I've never heard of this tradition either. I am actually asking readers to post their favorite reason for opening a bottle of wine. The blogger with the best, most creative or funny reason wins a bottle of wine! Waking up the next morning is reason enough in my book!