FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO LOVE WINE, BUT DON'T KNOW HOW
Cheers! Wine Consultants
By Dan & Krista Stockman
Our Facebook feeds frequently tell us there is a new wine holiday we should be celebrating (As if we needed an excuse to drink wine). According to TheDailyMeal.com, there are at least 18 holidays throughout the year to celebrate our favorite beverage.
There's Global Drink Wine Day, which just passed on Feb. 18. If you missed that one, don't worry. You have National Wine Day to look forward to on May 25. Sure, it's only a national celebration and not a global celebration, but will you really notice the difference?
If you want to focus on your favorite varietal, there's Malbec World Day on April 17 (side note: We want to visit Malbec World), Carignan Day (Yum!) on June 8, National Pinot Noir day on Aug. 18 and (Krista's favorite) National Zinfandel Day on Nov. 19.
But our favorite wine day is one often missed by the Internet: Open That Bottle Night. OTBN is always the fourth Saturday in February and celebrates that bottle that you've been holding onto for years waiting for the perfect occasion to open it. Maybe it's a bottle that someone brought you from another country. Maybe it's an expensive bottle you bought years ago for an anniversary but just haven't been able to pop the cork. Maybe it's a bottle from the year you were married or the year a child was born, and you're just not sure it's time to open it.
If you have one of those, Open That Bottle Night is for you. The holiday was started by former Wall Street Journal columnists Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher as a way to encourage wine lovers to – what else? – open that bottle. See, that bottle isn't doing you any good just languishing in your cellar or wine refrigerator or wherever you keep it. So John and Dottie created a holiday just for you. The last Saturday in February is the perfect time to open that bottle of wine. Why? Because.
Because on the last Saturday of February you can make the meal all about the wine. You want to make it special? Great. Create the meal that you want to make the wine feel as special as it is. Make it an intimate dinner, or invite friends over. Whatever makes it special to you – do that. John and Dottie have always said that you don't need to wait for a special occasion to open a special bottle, because a special bottle will make it a special occasion.
For us, we have allowed far too many wines go past their prime. Some because we didn't realize how long we'd had them. Some because we were waiting for the right occasion. Some because Krista was pregnant and wouldn't let Dan drink anything good without her. Regardless of the reason, we're always sad when we discover we waited too long.
This year, we drank Glunz Family Winery & Cellars 2013 Grenache. Glunz has always been special to us because it was one of the very first wineries we discovered together, and it was only about 20 minutes from our first house in Illinois. The wine production has since moved to Paso Robles, but the original location is still in Grayslake, and we stop there whenever we can. Their Ports are astounding; their spiced winter wine Glogg is wonderful on a cold day; their May Wine is a wonderful spring tradition; and their Sangria is the best you can buy outside of Spain – and you can even buy it at Costco now.
In recent years, they've added varietals such as the Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Zinfandel. They are incredibly rich and intense – so much so that they often need a while in the cellar to really be at their prime. We bought two bottles of the Grenache in January 2017 and opened one just a few months later: “Stunning,” we wrote at the time. “This is a massive wine with incredible depth and big, big shoulders. But it's still young. Another year or two in the cellar will make it even better. The only real question is whether we can wait that long.”
Somehow, we managed to wait until Open That Bottle Night 2019, and it didn't disappoint. Still a big, rich wine, it had now smoothed out and allowed the fruit to come through. Dan made steak with avocado salsa and we celebrated the wine and each other. In some ways, it was just a random Saturday in February, but thanks to the wine, it was anything but ordinary.
And that's why we write about OTBN every year – because any night can be special. Any time you open a wine you love, you slow down and begin to appreciate the wine, the food and the company – all things we too often take for granted.
So if you missed OTBN this year, you can celebrate it any – or every – day of the year. Because while it's a tragedy to let a special bottle go bad waiting in the cellar for a special occasion that never comes, it's even worse to not appreciate the people and things around you that mean so much.
So grab someone you love, grab a bottle and let the magic begin.
Any night can be your very own wine holiday