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Open That Bottle Night XIII

February 21, 2012

Man, do I miss my wine rack. It’s funny because I don’t have to look too hard for the damn thing. We moved it into the garage, years ago. Don’t worry, it has long been empty of wine, and now simply stores overflow kitchen gadgets and dust.

At it’s peak the rack was filled with over 100 interesting bottles of wine from all over the world ranging from truly great wines, to Trader Joe finds, to special bottles picked up from wineries, to GroceOut close outs.

With so much wine sitting around, Open That Bottle Night was a breeze. Even wines that weren’t very special to begin with became valued treasures when they were the last bottle from the case of a vintage that was no longer available.

Now all our wine lives in a small bin under a bookcase. It’s a fine sized space for our regular consumption, but it doesn’t hold much more than a couple of cases. The problem is that wine doesn’t linger around in quite the same way. Yes, we do have a couple very special bottles laying down, but they have specific occasions already assigned to their opening.

So while I’m struggling with my own Open That Bottle Night plans, I thought I should at least remind you that this annual wine event is this Saturday, February 25. Never heard of OTBN or feel like you could use a refresher? I’ve got the lowdown.

Open That Bottle Night (OTBN for short) is a holiday that was specifically created for people to enjoy that very special bottle of wine that they have been waiting for a special occasion to open.

The problem is, and perhaps you can identify with this, that no occasion ever really feels special enough to open that tucked-away bottle.  Perhaps it is a very expensive wine that you were hoping to drink at its perfect peak, maybe that peak has passed, maybe it’s not expensive at all but is full of sentimental memories that you fear will vanish with the liquid in the bottle.

Regardless, the time to drink it is now. Well, by now I mean Saturday.

OTBN was the brainchild of my favorite wine columnists, Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher. While it’s sad they are no longer writing for the Wall Street Journal, they did make an appearance online last year, and now it seems like they are attempting to get ensconced in Facebook and Twitter. Like them. Follow them. Learn from them. Be inspired by them. They are great, and I don’t use those words lightly.

If you’re curious about what to do for the holiday, check out my ten-step program for a proper celebration.

Now not having a bottle to open myself for OTBN is really a mixed blessing. It means I’m doing a better job about living life every day and not putting off potential pleasures for tomorrow. After all, the vast majority of wine produced around the world today is meant to be consumed soon after it is bottled, and not aged for some mythic future date when it will achieve its perfect peak.

That means I’ll have to be on the hunt for a bottle that holds some kind of personal significance for me and Mrs. Fussy. Maybe I can find a bottle of the Calera Pinot Noir, that we enjoyed in Mendocino county on one of our many trips to the lost coast with some porcini risotto.

If I were feeling romantic I could get the same sparkling wine I had on hand for after I proposed to her in my Berkeley apartment (after buttering her up with a diner at Oliveto).

These are the kinds of things that make wine special. It’s more than just the juice in the bottle. Rather, it’s about the memories of people, places and events that these wines recall. And that’s the spirit of the holiday.

I hope you can participate at home this Saturday. And if you do, please make sure to drop John and Dottie a line and let them know what you had. I’m sure they would be thrilled to know.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 21, 2012 9:33 am

    Open That Bottle Night always lands on/around mine and my husband’s dating anniversary, which is somewhat of a bummer in itself, as even though it’s somewhat of a moot point now it’s still a good excuse to pop a cork. The whole point of OTBN, as I see it, is to be the excuse in itself.

    However, this year (and perhaps years to come), we’ve decided that visiting the Finger Lakes on/near our dating anniversary is more fiscally responsible than doing so during our ACTUAL anniversary (September), so on OTBN, we’ll be in the Finger Lakes, drinking a LOT of wine!

    I guess this means we’ll have to come up with our own OTBN, huh?

  2. February 21, 2012 11:15 am

    I still have not decided on my OTBN choice, but nice blogpost!

  3. February 21, 2012 12:37 pm

    Huarpe’s 80% Malbec/20% Cabernet has a special meaning to my husband and me but it’s hard to find now. It looks like I can order it through Saratoga Wine Exchange but it’ll take 4-6 business days and I’d have to get to Saratoga somehow. Maybe I’ll check with someplace closer and see about ordering.

  4. February 21, 2012 12:48 pm

    I used to have one of these every year with my ex-wife. What a great excuse for an extravagant dinner party in the doldrums of February.

    Hadn’t thought about it in a couple years. I do have a bottle of champagne sitting around that was a gift, and quite pricey…

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