Friday, March 24, 2006

An Open That Bottle Dinner Report

So, only a month late in the follow up, but better late than never, right? Feb 24, we followed the fine tradition set forth by the Wall Street Journal and had an Open That Bottle Night dinner. The idea is for guests to bring a bottle of indeterminate age or origin that needs to be opened -- as well as the story to go with it. I created a solid menu that wouldn't overwhelm anything in particular. We began with an antipasto platter, then had a scallops/miso/grapefruit dish I love (with a 1996 Schlumberger Alsatian Riesling), coq au vin, polenta, asparagus with a mushroom sherry cream, salad with a warm port wine/fig dressing, a cheese course, and chocolate flourless cake with fresh berries and cream.

Everyone brought something wonderful for their bottle! Here are the best wines and stories:

1992 Rosso Di Montalcino, Col D'orcia: This guest told us about "the great flood of '97" in which his house was flooded and most of his wine collection destroyed. This bottle was the last remaining survivor and had remained unopened so long because they assumed it had gone over. It had not and in fact was a lovely dry Italian -- perfect for antipasto. A really nice wine.

1994 Markham Cabernet (Napa): This was my contribution to the evening, a gift from a dear friend in the wine business a couple of years ago. I'd just been waiting for a special occasion to open it (never a good idea). It was lovely but past its prime -- it had lost the "bigness" that I like in Napa cab.

1997 Arrowood, Sonoma Cabernet: Wow. This wine was contributed by an attorney friend who was down to his last two bottles, acquired through the vineyard related to one of his first clients and cases. What a knockout! A terrific big, bold, spicy Sonoma Cab. Makes me want to keep an eye on that last bottle!

1987 Dominus Estate: This Sonoma fave was well kept and still had a lot of life in it. We decanted all these older reds and this one was in much better shape than the Markham. Very drinkable -- a little light -- but a great table wine. This wine was contributed by a friend with a remarkable wine collection who said it some of the first batch laid down in his cellar the year he graduated from law school.

2000 V Sattu Merlot: This fantastic winery is known for many of their reds and this merlot didn't disappoint. This one was brought by a friend who has great connections to Sattu and is a huge fan of everything they do. It's her signature wine -- always served in her home.

There were some terrific reds and a great port (I didn't save the bottle!) and lots of fun. All in all it was a great evening! Make sure you plan for next year's Open That Bottle Night, always the last Saturday in February.

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