Gastronomy 101, a blog about food and Los Angeles restaurants

WINE: Open That Bottle Night

February 23 was "Open That Bottle" night - a night on which you are supposed to open that bottle of wine you have been saving for ... something, but you don't know what. To stop people from the danger of saving a bottle for too long, this night was invented to give you an excuse.

Because there are certain dangers that arise from saving a bottle of wine for too long. It will acquire a mythical status in your mind and you will put it off and put it off and perhaps you will put it off so long that the person you wish to drink it with is no longer around, as in the incredibly sad story I heard on NPR one time, or the wine has turned to vinegar (also in that same incredibly sad story - I told you it was SAD) , or perhaps you end up drinking it alone and pathetic out of a styrofoam cup in a fast food restaurant. You never know!

If you missed this year's occasion - do not fret! It happens every year on the last Saturday in February. Probably whatever wine you would have opened this year will still be great (and perhaps even better) if you save it for next year.

J. and I decided to participate but had a dilemma in deciding which wine to open. We're not really collectors, as we lack the space. We tend to just buy wine that's ready to drink and drink it at a fairly steady pace. But we have a few bottles that have remained unopened for a while and so after looking at what we had, we had three bottles to choose from:

1. The Graduation Merlot: A Nathanson Creek merlot, which is not so much a special wine (it retails for less than $10), but is a special bottle, as it was engraved just for me on the occasion of my graduation from law school. It has a little graduation hat on it and everything. The fact that it's from my law school graduation also means it has sat in our wine holder for almost three years, making it probably our longest surviving wine. The rules of this night dictate that the wine can be of any type, quality, or price, as long as its sentimental value makes it one that you have lingered in opening.

2. The Wedding Syrah: This is a bottle of syrah that was made for my brother's wedding by a friend of the family. This was initially my choice, because I thought, "When else are we going to drink a bottle like this?" Which my husband handily answered with "On their anniversary." ................. Oh yeah. Sometimes my incredibly complex brain is hard at work on such intricate puzzles that it fails to notice the obvious solution to a question. It's not my fault I am so diabolically intelligent that I can't be bothered to process basic information.

3. The Fancy Bottle: Finally, although we tried hard to choose a bottle for sentimental reasons, we finally ended up at the choice we'd each secretly been wanting from the beginning. It probably reveals a bit too much about our economic status to say that this bottle of 2000 Chateau-la-Nerthe Chateneuf-du-Pape is our very fanciest and priciest bottle of wine that we own. It's a good wine, but not legendary or lavishly expensive. And shamefully I must admit, that we didn't even purchase this wine for ourselves. We are sneaky little thieves and we stole it from my parents. But that is what happens when you put a whole wine cooler in your daughter's old room and stuff it full of really good wines. You simply can't be surprised if a bottle or two is gone when she leaves from visiting you.

So after a lengthy five minutes of deliberation we opened the Chateneuf-du-Pape and we drank it. We drank it all. Verdict? YUM. It was definitely a good bottle of wine. Could we have continued to save it? Yeah, we probably could have saved it for several more years, but what would be the point? We don't have an excellent wine storage system and no particular reason to save this wine except that it is a bit fancier than we normally have.

So take a look at your wines and start thinking about what you might want to open next year. If you don't have anything particularly sentimental, then you have 11 months to get something. Start creating occasions on which people might give you wine. Or get yourself invited to someone's house who has a wine cooler in their guest room--whichever way works best for you. By the time next February rolls around, you may have one or more special bottles to open.


I think that was actually Jackie's and my Bottle that we left in mom and dad's wine cooler b/c we don't have a wine cooler, unless there was another Nerthe

said by jackson at 3:47 PM Delete

!!! It was?!

I'm so sorry if it was. But I am positive that there was more than one. I never take anything unless there are several of them.

If it was yours, I'll get you a new one.

said by KT at 3:49 PM Delete

if it was you owe me nothing, its you payment for all of the bar exam advice you are going to give me

said by jackson at 3:52 PM Delete

Okay, DEAL

said by KT at 4:01 PM Delete

You guys need to bone up on your French wines before staying with us next time. ( Especially Bordeauxs )There were a lot better bottles than that, although that is a great wine. You are welcome to take what you like if it will get up here more. The same goes for J&J. Fred

said by fred at 9:46 AM Delete

I need to do this!

said by Chubbypanda at 4:44 PM Delete

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