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Friday, March 7, 2014

Open That Bottle Night 2014 Report: Diverse Wines Delight

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This year one of our favorite events just sort of snuck up on us. It’s a holiday of sorts for wine lovers – Open That Bottle Night. That’s the night when you are encouraged to open a special bottle and enjoy with friends. No sense letting a “treasure wine” molder away for a perfect occasion that may never arrive. Pop the cork and savor the moment now!

Josh Tasting 005This year’s OTBN was February 22. Quite frankly, we forgot all about it. Perhaps our brains were frozen over by the sub-Arctic winter. It turned out better than alright because we had an invite to visit tasting team member Dr. J and wife Casey to sample some wines. So we grabbed a bite at Ruby Tuesdays and headed to their house.

I had gotten a Le Nez du Vin wine aroma kit from Green Dragon for Christmas, so I brought that with me. We began the evening by trying to identify wine aromas – some not so common, like boxwood and lychee.

Our wine lineup was as follows:

  • 2009 Bonny Doon Vineyard Muscat Ca' del Solo
  • 2008 Mark Herold Wines Acha Red
  • 2009 Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir Willamette Valley
  • 2006 Sempre Vive Cabernet Sauvignon Old Vine

I grabbed the Bonny Doon on a whim, wanting to try a white and something different – and we don’t drink Muscat every day. This was our opening act. In the glass the wine is a nice yellow in color. It is just off dry with muted floral tones. Minerality was the main impression on our group of tasters. It was an interesting, but not dazzling wine.

Josh Tasting 003Acha is a Tempranillo blend from Mark Herold. I became a fan of his when I sampled his Flux Grenache blend. When I saw a special deal on Underground Cellar, I picked up three bottles including two Acha.

The blend is primarily Tempranillo, with Grenache, Carignane, Graciano and Petite Sirah rounding out the wine. I was expecting a laid back, light bodied Tempranillo and was surprised by the deep earthy flavors and spicy black cherry notes. The wine also has some serious tannins. Acha is expressive and complex. I’m glad we gotcha Acha!

The Willamette Valley Pinot was the “baby” of the group, being a 375 ML bottle we picked up at a dinner at the winery while in Oregon. It might be diminutive in size, but it was 10 feet tall in flavor.

This is a ruby colored wine that represents America’s best Pinot Noir region very well. It is light in body without being weak. Cranberry, cherry and vanilla  swirl in the glass. Green Dragon tagged this as her favorite of the evening.

From the cellar of Dr. J we selected the Old Vines ‘06 Napa Cab from Sempre Vive. Sempre Vive means “always alive” and this wine surely was. We gave it a good decanting while chatting, enjoying cheese and crackers and tasting through the other wines.

Sempre Vive is a beautiful expression of Napa Cabernet. The bouquet is of fresh berries and on the palate it is nice and velvety. The flavor profile is a pleasing jumble of raspberry and black cherries.

I was surprised to learn that the price on this was about $24. That is an impressive value – especially when the current vintage costs $45. If you see it, buy it!

As we drained the last drops from our glass, yet another chapter was added to the Open That Bottle Night legend…

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