Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Open That Bottle Night 2011 Report: Red and White Rockers

We love the concept of Open That Bottle Night. It’s a once-a-year excuse to unshackle that special bottle you’ve been saving and savor it – no need to wait for a 25th anniversary, new job or significant birthday. Celebrate the here and now, or as an artist friend of mine likes to say, “savor the moment.”

The OTBN event this year featured a tasty lineup of wines:
  • Ravines 2007 Cabernet Franc, Finger Lakes
  • Von Schleinitz 2007 Apollo Dry Riesling, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
  • Beni di Batasiolo 1999 Barbaresco
  • O’Brien Estate Winery 2004 Seduction, Napa Valley
  • Alere Vineyard 2007 GMS Blue Oak Vineyard, Santa Barbara
  • Toasted Head 2008 Barrel Reserve Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
The event was hosted by Glorious T and Ace of Bass. Sax Man and Wine Chick joined Green Dragon and me for the tasting.

Ravines Winery in the Finger Lakes is one of our favorite wineries. It’s scenic and relaxing to visit and rocks out some outstanding dry Riesling and succulent reds. The Cab Franc started the evening on a high note. The wine is finely balanced with a lighter body than expected. The lush taste is punctuated with pepper and spice. Smashing!

Before we got too deep into the reds, we circled back for the Mosel Valley Dry Riesling. On a night when the spotlight was expected to be on the reds, this German wine was a crowd-pleaser. The wine has strong minerality and finished with a blip of tropical fruit. “Mineral domination,” shouted Ace of Bass. Sax Man is a big Dry Riesling fan and he was all smiles as he swirled and sipped. This was an aristocratic white.

I was looking forward to the Barbaresco, which has been a prized wine since we purchased it a couple years ago. We had decanted the Cab Franc, but I suggested that we not do it for this one, thinking the wine might be fragile and lose its pop with too much exposure to air. My mistake!

As we served up the Barbaresco, it was a bit edgy. Green Dragon thought it had some acetone in the aroma. It wasn’t drinking well. I kept sampling as the conversations meandered and Ace of Bass and I were rewarded with a wine that opened up to some complex and enjoyable earthy flavors. This is a sturdy wine best enjoyed with a meal – or a cigar.

The O’Brien Seduction was a treasure wine from Ace and Glorious T.It is a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. This is a wonderful wine that has snagged 90+ ratings from Robert Parker and other wine authorities. This had beautiful flavors of dark cherry and espresso.

Alere (ah-lare-ey) Vineyard and Winery focuses on Rhone varietals. Their GMS is a blend of Grenache (57%), Mourvedre (26%) and Syrah (14%). It is medium bodied with flavors of dark berries and plum.

Our finale wine was the 2008 Toasted Head Barrel Reserve Pinot Noir. This was touted as the wine buy of the year at Walt Churchill’s Market in Perrysburg. The loud Rush concert DVD in the background couldn’t drown out the raspberry and cherry flavors from this elegant wine.

We did indeed “Open That Bottle” and it made for a night to remember.

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