A month ago, on February 25th, a lot of wine lovers around the world celebrated Open That Bottle Night. In the spirit of celebration with family and friends, the evening is simply an excuse to open a special bottle of wine. For many, these wines have been quietly waiting in wine cellars, basements, and closets for a special occasion and the occasion never seems to arrive. For others, a wine is chosen that has a special story or reminds us of a special moment in time.
This past month, my wife and I celebrated this event with our good friends who just moved to the area. We each supplied a bottle that had special meaning and put together a great menu to pull it all together. The following are the wines, my tasting notes, and the stories behind them.
Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva 2001
Sweet cherry nose with some spices
Smooth and velvety on the palate
Long, smooth finish with lasting layers
Delicious and modern in style, this Chianti went down smooth. With some air and time in the glass, the wine kept revealing rich layers that pleased everyone's palate. It costs approximately $20 in a store and is well worth the money.
The story behind this wine, our friends explained, is that this is the first wine they had got them to step out of the comfort zone while budding wine enthusiast in the first year of marriage. The year was 1997 and they were newlyweds with limited disposable income. After numerous visits to a liquor store with a decent wine selection, the wine guy approached them. He said he noticed they always bought the same basic California varietal wine and wanted to suggest something different for them to try. After some conversing, they walked away with this Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva and their wine journey has never been the same. Bringing this wine to OTBN brought them back to this moment.
Pindar Cabernet Franc 1998
Earthy and dusty on the nose at first, followed by some cherry
Plum finish and notes of lead-pencil shavings
This wine still tastes young and fresh, and has a boldness and richness that develops in the glass. It costs approximately $28 in the store, if you can find it. The producer is a proud Cabernet Franc winery from the North Fork of Long Island, New York.
My wife and I chose this wine for OTBN because we needed an excuse to open it. The story is that we first tasted this wine on a visit to Long Island a few years ago. We were in a little wine shop tasting room in the Hamptons, and this one stood out from the pack as we sampled a half dozen or so New York red wines at around eleven o'clock in the morning. Our good friends were with us at the time, the same couple we shared OTBN with. After looking around for this wine some time later, I finally found just one bottle in a small, dusty wine shop in Gainesville, Florida. It sat in our wine cooler at our home in Florida for two years and made the journey with us to New England when we moved last year. To bring it full circle, we decided to enjoy it last month with our New York friends who also just moved to town.
Raise a glass!