I love Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher’s wine columns in the Wall Street Journal. The couple is about as unpretentious as wine experts (or anyone for that matter) can be, always encouraging you to try new things, and not to be afraid to like something that may not be in fashion right now.
And they are big proponents of enjoying a good bottle of wine when the fancy strikes, not just for special occasions. In order to encourage us to do that, they created Open That Bottle Night in 2000, and the annual event has grown wildly in popularity, as people get together at home or at a restaurant, to enjoy that bottle they’ve been saving (admit it, for far too long) for just the right occasion.
I’ve done it myself. Years ago, I couldn’t resist buying a bottle of 1997 Brunello di Montalcino, shortly after it was released in early 2002. “The vintage of the century,” the critics at a press event I had attended raved. Well, don’t you know, I nearly sat on that bottle until it had expired from boredom, waiting for a sufficiently “weighty” dinner. Finally, last year, I took it to dinner at my brother’s (always a special occasion).
The color had definitely faded. And at first the wine seemed thin. Fortunately, as it sat it got bigger and better, and we did enjoy it. But I have to think it would have been better a couple years earlier.
Open That Bottle Night is the last Saturday in February, which means this weekend. So, dust off that bottle! Get it out and set it upright, so any sediment can settle. (Decanting is not usually necessary.) Maybe you can have some friends over and each couple can bring a long-saved bottle. Or go to your favorite BYO with your bottle. And if your wine is really old, have a backup, so you won’t stress.
Or go to Christopher’s Restaurant at The Heldrich in New Brunswick, where patrons are invited to bring their own bottle this Saturday (or get 50% off selected bottles), and enjoy a special prix fixe menu for $29.99 (or the regular menu). For more information, call 732.214.2200 / 866.609.4700-toll free, or visit http://www.theheldrich.com/openbottle/. Salud!