Drinking the Preciousssss
Or trying to anyway
It seems I’m not so much of a wine collector as a wine hoarder.
Tomorrow is Open That Bottle Night, a holiday created in 2000 by journalists Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher. It’s an event meant to actually drink that bottle of wine you’ve been hanging on to for some hazy non-specific “special occasion.” It’s a great thought! We’re special enough to warrant that special bottle!
I just went down to the cellar and started trying to pick a special bottle to mark the occasion. One of my William Heritage BDX’s? Ugh, no, can’t do it! And I actually did drink one on a special occasion recently! I will do it again!
One of my Turley zins? Gah, nope, I’m trying to age these. And I have a new wine club that my purchasing budget is aligned to for the next few months at least, so I won’t be buying anymore from them for a while.
I know, I’m flunking the whole concept of Open That Bottle Night.
After some agitating over the decision, I finally went with 2016 Auburn Road Classico red blend, which I’ve written about here before.
And we can also celebrate the belated announcement that Auburn Road has been chosen as the newest member of the New Jersey Winemakers Co-op! From their website:
Member wineries aim to produce benchmark dry wines from estate‑grown vinifera (European) varieties that illuminate the differences in soil and climate that exist throughout the Garden State.
It’s a well-deserved addition to the Co-op and shows that a lot of great things are going on down in the Outer Coastal Plain.
The major grape in this blend is sangiovese, 44%, which is almost entirely grown in Italy. WineFolly reports that only about 2,000 acres are planted in the U.S., of the total 175,000 worldwide. And funnily enough, they’re not up on the fact it’s being grown in New Jersey. There’s also cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and a bit of petit verdot.
The color is garnet, and only just starting to show a bit of age with a warmer color. I get a lot of earthiness on the nose. There’s predominantly cranberry on the palate, but it’s mellowed quite a bit. There’s very little tannin and plenty of acidity. I’d love to try this with some goat cheese, but this would go well with lots of dishes.
I hope your Open That Bottle Night is more in keeping with the spirit of the law! Let me know in the comments what you choose.
And got some bonus content for you: Check out this story by Bloomberg reporter Adam Reiner, Top Sommeliers Are Offering Tuition-Free Wine Classes to BIPOC Students:
…In the Boston area, Alicia Towns Franken has also been working to cultivate diversity in the industry. After George Floyd’s murder in 2020, Towns Franken, who’d been working part time as a wine consultant, returned to the industry full time. Her friend DLynn Proctor—a sommelier known for his role in the Somm series of documentaries—asked her to serve as executive director of Wine Unify, a California-based nonprofit he co-founded to provide resources and mentorship for BIPOC wine professionals. The organization is funded by donations from sources that range from the private sector to wineries and magazines….
…The lack of Bipoc representation in the industry is a wide-reaching problem. A 2019 report published by SevenFiftyDaily determined that only 16% of 3,100 wine and spirits industry professionals surveyed were people of color, with just 2% of respondents identifying as Black. There are some signs of progress in recent years, though. The 2022 class of the Court of Master Sommeliers, an international organization dedicated to wine service standards, was the most diverse in the court’s 40-plus-year history….
Glad to see a concerted effort being made to bring much-needed diversity to the industry.