We’ll drink to that: Open That Bottle Night 11, Saturday, February 27

by Terry B on February 24, 2010

open-that-bottleThe idea behind Open That Bottle Night is a simple one. As a Wall Street Journal article puts it, “Whether it’s the only bottle in the house or one bottle among thousands, just about all wine lovers have that very special wine that they always mean to open, but never do.” So in 2000, husband and wife WSJ wine columnists John Brecher and Dorothy Gaiter proclaimed the last Saturday in February Open That Bottle Night, an excuse to enjoy that special bottle you’ve been saving.

This Saturday, February 27, marks the 11th anniversary of this noble invented holiday. And OTBN is not all about opulence. As Brecher and Gaiter say, “You don’t necessarily want to open your ‘best’ wine or your most impressive wine, but the wine that means the most to you, the one that you would simply never open otherwise.” They also offer some tips on enjoying your special bottle to its fullest:

  • Stand older wine up for a few days before you plan to open it to allow the sediment to settle
  • Have a backup wine ready for your special meal, in case your old wine really has gone bad
  • Enjoy the wine for what it is, not what it might someday be or might once have been

That last tip reminds me of an article I read last summer by New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov. Much is written about the potential health benefits of drinking wine, including here. To Asimov, it doesn’t much matter. In “Health Benefit? How About Pleasure?” he says, “Personally speaking, whether wine is good for me or not has nothing to do with why I drink it. I drink wine because I love it. I do not believe that moderate consumption is bad for me. I think drinking wine is in fact good for me because it gives me pleasure and makes me happy, and I believe that people who are happy tend to be healthier than people who are unhappy.”

This Saturday, we’ll be celebrating OTBN at our favorite Chicago BYOB restaurant, mado. Our planned bottle is a chardonnay from Black Jack Ranch in Santa Barbara County, California. We picked it up there on a road trip down California’s Pacific Coast Highway, from San Francisco to Los Angeles, in celebration of a big-numbered wedding anniversary.

If you need another reason to crack open that bottle this Saturday, consider this quote from a participant in the very first OTBN: “I can only express one regret. Had we found an occasion last year to open this great ‘gift of the grape,’ my bride of over 50 years could have been present to enjoy this event in person rather than in spirit only.” For more tips on choosing wines and enjoying OTBN, read the complete Wall Street Journal article here.


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

altadenahiker February 24, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Yet another reminder that I have absolutely no discipline.

Lauren February 24, 2010 at 5:36 pm

Cheers Terry! We’ll be cracking a golden oldie from our trip to Sonoma Valley!

Terry B February 24, 2010 at 7:23 pm

What, Altadenahiker? Have all your special bottles already been opened? Sounds like you need a trip to the liquor store.

Cheers, Lauren! I’m sure you’ll be serving up some lovely memories along with the wine.

Dani H February 24, 2010 at 8:34 pm

I rarely drink wine any more unless I am at my daughter’s. Opening a bottle when you live alone can lead to other problems. My daughter and her husband have toured vineyards in many states over the years, resulting in quite a collection. I’ll send her a link to this article so they can share a bottle then, too.

Melissa February 25, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Tracy at Provenance Food & wine is hosting an “Open that bottle” night at her Logan Square Store at 8:00 on Sat 27th. The cost is $10 per person and you should rsvp to 773-384-0699. It sounds like a fun night!

Terry B February 25, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Now, Dani, there are advanced bottle stoppers that pull the air out of the bottle and extend the life of the wine, so you can enjoy a bottle over several evenings. There are half bottles too, in case you don’t trust your will power. [Altadenahiker, do you know about these?] No need to deny yourself the simple pleasures of a glass of wine!

Melissa—Thanks for the tip! We love Provenance.

altadenahiker February 26, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Half bottles? But then I’d have to buy two of them.

Terry B February 26, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Altadenahiker—Marion and I have often thought you’d be fun to sit down and have a drink or two with. Now I feel like we’d be spending all our time guarding our glasses.

Dani H February 26, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Will power? Hmmm…. never heard of such a thing. ;P

altadenahiker February 27, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Fine. If you want me, I’ve taken my half bottles and gone to Dani’s house.

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