Friday, 1 March 2019

Open That Bottle Night 2019 - what did you open?

For some people the last weekend in February is a rather special time. I am one of those people. A couple of years ago I stumbled upon a wine-based concept that I fell in love with - Open That Bottle Night. Briefly the premise is that February is a dreary month and people need something to brighten it up. Two wine lovers who wrote for the Wall Street Journal, Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher decided that they wanted to find a reason to open that special bottle of wine that you’ve been saving for a while. They told of stories of people who have been holding onto that bottle of ‘45 Haut-Brion and agonising over when was the right time to open this majestic wine and too often people held on to the wine too long only to find that it hadn’t been stored properly or that it had some kind of fault. Instead, to Gaiter and Brecher they felt that the bottle of wine that you have in your cellar should be the occasion; invite friends and family round to enjoy that bottle of wine in great company! I love the idea of this and have now done this for the last few years.

In 2016 I opened a bottle of 2012 Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Riesling Kabinett (Mosel, Germany).

In 2017 I opened a bottle of 2012 Tignanello (Tuscany, Italy).

In 2018 I opened a bottle of 2011 Clos Mogador (Priorat, Spain)

So, what did I open in 2019 I hear you ask?

I went back to Italy for my wine this year. I had a lovely bottle of 2005 Muga Reserva that I was severely tempted by and a bottle of 2006 Pichon-Longeuville Baron that I was eying up, but I was surprised to find that I was instead drawn to a 2009 Casanova Di Nero Tenuta Nuova (Brunello Di Montalcino, Italy). This was a wine that I picked up direct from the winery when I visited it in October as part of a walking holiday I went on through Tuscany - something that I can highly recommend (the photo on the left is on the way to the winery as you walk up the drive!). Very few places in the world truly excite the senses like Tuscany does, the food, the wines and the scenery are all absolutely phenomenal. We walked through the countryside that gives you Brunello di Montalcino (one of the very best red wines in the world, in my opinion) and that gives you Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. I wrote a piece for Vinspire on my experiences in Tuscany that you can read about by following this LINK if you are interested.

So, enough of the trip down memory lane - tell us about the wine! I decided to give it about an hour in the decanter as I wanted to coax it back to life; it had been sleeping for ten years after all. In the glass it had an interestingly murky appearance, with a kind of damson red to it. On the nose it was all I could have hoped for and more; it was fragrant and evocative. I noted primary aromas of "fruits of the forest" with blackberries and blueberries coming through particularly strongly. There was also definitely some deeper and more interesting notes of cedar, marzipan and tobacco that gave the wine a real majesty in the glass. When I tasted it I admired the beautiful freshness and cleanliness to the wine, which had a real poise about it. The tannins were nice, smooth and well-integrated, as one would expect from a ten year old wine of this type. There were lovely dark fruit flavours with a nice lick of savouriness and smokiness to the wine that I enjoyed thoroughly. All in all this was a truly wonderful wine and one that was perfect for "Open That Bottle Night". We paired it, appropriately, I think, with a Tuscan Sausage Stew and the wine was a great match for it.

Did you drink anything special for "Open That Bottle Night"? If so, what did you drink? If not, do you fancy doing it in 2020? Start thinking about what that special bottle of wine could be and who you could share it with...!

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