Open That Bottle Night, which is celebrated on the last Saturday of February, is the holiday where you pull out wines you have been saving for the right occasion and pull their corks (or twist the screwcaps) to liberate the contents. The purpose of wine is to make us happy, so why wait?
This year our usual OTBN crew wasn’t able to all gather together, so Sue and I organized a sort of “distributed OTBN” over three nights. Here, as is our custom, is a report of what we opened and what we discovered.
OTBN 1: Dinner with friends featuring Sue’s famous Bologna-style veal meatballs.
- Mascarelli Villa Gemma Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva 2017. Probably the best Montepulciano d’Abruzzo we’ve tried to far.
- Grace Vineyards (China) Tasya’s Reserve Aglianico 2012. Still fresh after eleven years! Really interesting and delicious. Congratulations to Judy Chan and the Grace Vineyard team.
OTBN 2: Appetizers with a good friend featuring mushroom risotto balls.
- Nelion Winery (Cyprus) Ofthalmo 2014. Couldn’t wait to open this. Still tight and took a while to open in the glass. Dark fruits slowly emerged. Brought back great memories.
OTBN 3: Dinner with friends on the “official” OTBN evening.
Sue decided that it was time to open some of the Sherry in our cellar to share with friends who weren’t all that familiar with this wine style. She was inspired by samples of the Amontillado and Cream Sherry.
Appetizers: Marcona almonds, basque cheese, acorn-fed Iberico ham, and Jamon Serrano.
- Laurent-Perrrier Champagne “La Cuvée” Brut
- Bodegas Yuste Aurora Amontillado sherry
Pasta: Sue decided that this was also “Open That Jar Night.” We hardly ever buy pasta sauce at the supermarket because we make our own from Sue’s garden tomatoes. But we’ve been sampling imported pasta sauce products from Botticelli and were impressed with authentic homemade flavor (and the ingredients list, which looked like what you would use at home).
We’ve been saving a bottle of the Tomato, Porcini Mushrooms, and Truffle sauce to open on OTBN, served with “Trecce” Pasta di Gragnano IGP, which was pretty much made for this sauce.
- Chateau de Beaucastel 1990. An amazing wine. Still fresh after 33 years. Layers of flavor. What a treat. And a great foil for the mushroom and truffle sauce. Memorable!
Cheese course (Mirforma “Tête-à-tête de Moine” raw cow’s milk, Switzerland; Alta Langa “La Tur” cow, goat, sheep, Italy; Cypress Grove “Midnight Moon” pasteurized goat milk aged Gouda, Netherlands; Papillon Roquefort, raw sheep milk, France):
- Gonzalez Byass Leonor Palo Cortado 12 years
Dessert course (almond cake):
- Bodegas Cesar Florido Cruz del Mar Cream Sherry
- Gonzalez Byass Necras Pedro Ximenez Sherry
You might notice that we opened four different Sherry wines — what’s that about? Well, first of all, we really like Sherry and every sip brings back fond memories of a trip to Spain where we spent an entire day learning about Sherry thanks to the good people at Gonzalez Byass.
Add to this the fact that Sherry is the perfect OTBN wine. Most people don’t open that bottle of Sherry because they don’t even buy it. They think of Sherry the same way they think of Port — that sickly sweet stuff that grandma drinks at Christmas. The world of Sherry is deep and wide (and inexpensive for the quality). Our OTBN tasting only scratched the surface.
When was the last time you opened a bottle of Sherry? If it has been a while, maybe you need to do something about it soon.
This concludes our OTBN 2023 report. If one OTBN is good, three are even better. Is there ever a bad time to open that bottle?
I like the 3 day approach. No use rushing things.