Monday, February 25, 2008

Open That Bottle Night: # 9

Apparently this has been going on for a few years and I'm just learning about it. It makes sense: I've only been into wine for 15 months now. When I found out about Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher's Open That Bottle Night from reading Farley's post in her Behind the Vines blog, I knew which bottle I would be opening. The two writers, who share a wine column in the Wall Street Journal, have designated the last Saturday in February as a day to open and drink a wine that you've been holding on to because it's too special to drink.
My bottle has been on hold for 6 months. I bought it on the last day I worked at a local BevMo store. I had read about this wine in The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil. She was writting about Rhone wine and described this one as a wine that made her understand how great wine can be. I had also been to a Rhone wine tasting the previous winter but none of us had brought a Northern Rhone. I really wanted to know what the Syrah grape would be like in a French wine. The wine cost almost $70 and that was the main reason I couldn't bring myself to drinking it.
So, after a little debate in my head, I decided to open the bottle and see if Gaiter and Brecher had a good idea or not: they do. Their event helped show that now is the time to enjoy wine. I'm not sure what kind of occasion would have come along to cause me to open that bottle, but it wasn't going to happen any time soon. The mystique of that bottle would have grown with each month I didn't open it. As it was, I was disappointed when I first tried the wine. My first reaction was, "I paid THAT much for this wine!?! Why isn't it making my tongue dance?"
I did enjoy the wine after I got over the first disappointment. I let the wine decant for an hour while supper was being cooked. When we drank the wine with our meal, it had opened up a little and reminded me of why I like the Syrah so much and gave me a deeper appreciation for Rhone wines. It was a sublte wine. It had the fruit flavors of cherry and what I can only call a Syrah. It had nice tannins that stayed on my tastes buds after I had swallowed. There was a sour cherry flavor that mixed with the tannins and it paired well with our meal. I definitely want to get more Syrahs like this, but I don't want to have to pay so much next time.
I think the best thing to learn from this little exercise is that wine is only grape juice. Really good tasting grape juice, but still, only fluid squeezed from Vitis vinifera. I don't know if I'll have a wine that qualifies for OTBN next year. Almost every bottle I purchase is gone before thirty days go by. Maybe someone will give me a great bottle as a birthday present. Otherwise, I'll just have to read everyone else's posts. If you have a bottle that's waiting for some special moment that never seems to get here, why not open it tonight? I'm sure you'll enjoy it and you'll make this evening a little more special.

The writer of the Avenue Vine wine blog did a great review for of this wine for Wine Blogging Wednesday #19. If you're interested in finding out more technical information about this wine, click here.

Tasting Notes:

2002 Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde de Guigal

Color: Medium red with pink edges

Nose: Cherry and band aids (there is often a rubber aroma when I smell Rhone wines!)

Taste: Sour cherries and gentle syrah flavors, not like a fruit-bomb, but just as enjoyable

Finish: Sour cherry and light tannins that go well with food.

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