The 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.