Posted by: runningwinegirl | March 2, 2010

So tell me Wine Lovers, when do you celebrate OTBN?

This past Saturday was Open the Bottle Night (OTBN), a wine event that takes place on the last Saturday in February each year. It was started by the now former Wall Street Journal wine columnists John Brecher and Dottie Gaiter back in 2000. It’s a wonderful occasion meant to encourage wine drinkers to open that special bottle and enjoy it.  I’ve participated in OTBN since I first learned about it three years ago but it dawned on me this past Christmas that my family has its own annual Open the Bottle Night.

Christmas is the one holiday when we all make it home. I love it because it’s centered on being together and laughing as much as possible. Having stumbled into the wine industry, I came home this year with far more knowledge than my family expected and my dad, being a wine collector, loved it. Prime Rib is our normal dinner served with a special bottle of wine. This year my dad brought me down with him to pick the wine out. He loved my knowledge and passion. We are a family that appreciates wine and we were in for a treat this year. Out of nowhere, my dad pulled out his 1997 California Cabernet Sauvignons and we started looking at the selections. I was floored because I’d been hearing about the 1997 vintage for what felt like forever. Customers would come in and tell me about the 1997 California Cabs they still had stashed and couldn’t wait to open. This vintage needs to be consumed in the next couple of years and having never had one I was determined to change that.  Knowing my love for California Zinfandels, my dad pulled out the 2000 August Briggs telling me it’s one of his all time favorites.  Awesome! We had our wine to enjoy before dinner.  It was time to work my magic on the cabs but my dad was on the same page. For the main course, we chose the 1997 Raymond Generations Cabernet and the 1997 Rutherford Grove Cabernet. Woo hoo two ‘97 cabs!

My sister and brother will tell you they are still developing their palates but there was no question these wines were special. There’s nothing more fun than sharing wine with those you love. The 2000 August Briggs was everything I wanted a Zinfandel to be.  On my palate, this wine was full bodied, complex, smooth, with dark fruit and a long finish.  The 1997 Raymond Generation was delightful with dinner. This wine was elegant, full, and smooth, with dark fruit and great complexity. I loved the structure and remember how well it paired with the meat and mashed potatoes. The bottle went fast and onto the 1997 Rutherford Grove we went. This wine could have laid down longer as we had to put it through the Vinturi.  Every time I had a piece of meat along with a sip of wine new layers were revealed. I remember black cherry, vanilla, in a very elegant, smooth, full bodied wine. I’d never heard of Rutherford Grove until my dad pulled this out. I can’t even begin to say how much I loved this wine. All of these wines were unique and delicious.

Wine is meant to be shared with others. For every occasion that we are all together, my family opens something rare that we can all enjoy together.  There’s no need to wait for one time of the year to open that special bottle. Grab it with your loved ones and enjoy the wine together. Did you open a special wine for Open that Bottle night or do you have your own tradition?

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