Uncorked: Break into something new on Open That Bottle Night
by Pat Kettles
Special to The Star
Feb 20, 2013 | 1873 views |  0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Open That Bottle Night, OTBN, is set for Saturday. This is a time for friends to gather with bottles pulled from their collections of special wines, perhaps of dubious soundness and quality.

OTBN, first celebrated in 2000, was the brainchild of then Wall Street Journal wine columnists Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher. Gaiter and Brecher thought it a good idea to set aside a day to pull out those bottles that many believe too special to open or those pushed aside and forgotten to languish in storage.Since there is not a lot going on the last Saturday in February, Gaiter and Brecher said why not organize a gathering on that night and have guests bring a wine that is special to them for some reason.

Recognizing that the average time a wine spends in the bottle after it is purchased is approximately three days, not everyone accumulates wine collections. Guests may be instructed to purchase a wine that has special significance to them, even if the significance is just that the wine was the only bottle with a cork in the marked-down bin.

Those with extensive wine collections should take this opportunity to review their wines, pulling older bottles for sharing. Old wines can be tricky, so always have a back-up available.

OTBN parties may be as simple or complex as the wines selected for the evening. Guests may bring simple hors d’oeuvres or those hosting may provide food, but keep it fun and light.

I have gotten a jump-start on OTBN with some rare and/or special bottles shared by friends in the past couple of weeks. Here are some examples that would make great pours for OTBN:

1994 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red Napa Valley

$150 range from online wine purveyors. Almost 20 years old, this wine disproves the notion big California Bordeaux style wines do not possess longevity.

Wines of this age sometimes have brittle corks even though stored under optimum conditions, as proved to be the case with this wine.

A portion of cork broke and fell into the bottle. Decanting through a filter resolved the issue.

Amazingly the wine retained its dark ruby color and showed no telltale brownish copper hues characteristic of an older wine, nor did it smell like a musty relic. A bit harsh when first poured, but left to breathe in the glass it transformed into something ethereal.

2007 Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet

$97.50 at Tyson’s Fine Wines and Things in Golden Springs. Friends brought this to a birthday celebration for my significant other. Silver Oak is always special, but 2007 was an exceptional vintage. Sharing this wine with friends was made it all the more special because it brought back memories of when we all visited the winery a few years back.

For Silver Oak this is a young wine. The winery says properly stored it should be good until 2033.

The unique thing about Silver Oak is that it is unfailingly ready to drink when released. The 2007 spent 25 months in barrel and 20 months in bottle before release. A spectacular wine for OTBN now and for years to come.

2005 Arnaldo-Caprai Collepiano Sagrantino Di Montefalco

$44.89 plus shipping at Amazon.com. From 100 percent sagrantino, an indigenous grape varietal grown in the hills of Umbria in central Italy near the village of Montefalco, Arnaldo-Caprai was named Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s 2012 European Winery of the year.

This 2005 aged 22 months in French oak has lots of life left. I could not resist tasting this wine from the previously unheard of sagrantino. I poured with wild mushroom flatbread and Tuscan bean soup for a yummy pairing.

Like the other big wines listed, this wine benefits from time to breathe in the glass. A dense, dark, garnet-colored wine with great structure, fruity palate and smooth finish.
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