If you don’t know what it is here you go! OTBN is Open That Bottle Night; a special night invented by wine writers, Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher of the Wall Street Journal. It is a world wide evening when all we enophiles who squirrel away a special wine, are given permission and reason to open that special bottle we’ve been saving for a special time. The problem is, and this is where Gaiter and Brecher are down right precogniscient, that special time never comes.
*But tonight we did it! My girl friend and wife of 31 years started with an appetizer of Mahogany clams steamed in Vermouth with Bruschietta. Our warm up was Sebastiani’s 2001 Chardonnay; an inexpensive Chardonnay ($11) that is marvelous and worth several times the price. The buttery texture and warm Chardonnay, citrusy, pineapple flavors are amazing for the price and complimented our first course wonderfully.
Then I made fresh pasta and formed ravioli’s with grated piave vecchio cheese filling the inside. These were topped with homemade spaghetti sauce. Accompanying this dish with sauteed zucchini was the wine of the night. Concha Y Toro’s Don Melchor 1998. This wine, which I picked up for $40, (a budget buster for this man) was touted by Wine Spectator as an excellent wine peaking now. Of course this was when the wine was first reviewed in 2002.
On the pour it is a youngish looking ruby with a cherry rim. The air is filled with a fruity, almost candied nose. The bouquet is a bit inky with a floral accent almost like Gardenia’s or violets with hints of basil. In the mouth, it is complex--beefy according to my wife--but closed with firm tannins and a bit austere. With some air though the floral wonder remains; it’s fabulous and the tannins have mellowed but this wine, contrary to Wine Spectator’s prognostications which said this wine would be peaked now, will age for a few more years. Dill accents emerge and the finish is not huge but pleasant. Ah, OTBN!!! Raise a glass.
*What a dolt I am! OTBN isn't until the 26th... Oh well, it was a great excuse to open a great bottle of wine.