South of the Border for Open That Bottle Night

Open That Bottle Night was designed almost twenty years ago by former Wall Street Journal wine writers Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher. The idea was to encourage people like me to get on with it already, open the bottle that is being “aged” or “saved” for a special occasion. The last Saturday in February each year since 1999 has been designated THE special occasion.

There have been previous years we have enjoyed observing OTBN with fellow wineloving friends. For the past two years our #WinePW group has agreed to observe OTBN and share our experience in our March edition; this year is no exception. However, this year OTBN fell on February 25, my birthday. I had plans to go out to dinner to celebrate my birthday with my husband and son; therefore, we observed OTBN a day early.

In the truest of OTBN fashion I suppose I cheated just a bit. As explained above the night is designed to pull a special bottle out of one’s wine cellar to open. Truth be told, I did not do that. Instead, I pulled a very special sample bottle that I would have put in my cellar because the producer was so kind to send me two bottles and we enjoyed it for OTBN. By every account the wine we opened is cellar worthy for a decade or more, so for me to open it at only 5 years old is really unlike me. But, it’s the spirit of the night.


I just wrote an article for Snooth called, “This Premium Cabernet Category Should be On Your Radar.” The article illuminates why Chile is the perfect place to grow high-end Cabernet Sauvignon . I hope you will read it and splurge on some of the wonderful Chilean wines.  For the article I was sent 6 samples of outstanding Chilean Cabs. However, one producer was so kind to send me two samples instead of one. So here is my OTBN celebration wine:

img_20352012 Viña Almaviva Puente Alto Chile ($140): This Bordeaux style blend was crafted of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Carmenere, 8% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot, and 1% Merlot; clear deep ruby; clean medium+ aromas of cherries, blackberries, cranberries, black raspberries, sweet spice notes, cocoa, fresh tobacco leaves, licorice, minerals, eucalyptus, damp underbrush, leather; dry medium+ acidity and tannins create a beautifully balanced wine with silky tannins after a two hour decant, loads of elegantly concentrated flavors wrap the palate in a full-body wine with a long spicy and toasted walnut finish.

I don’t typically featured “take-out” meals on my blog but you know sometimes life gets the best of us and we do not always have time to cook. The Friday we observed OTBN was the end of a long week for me. I spent three days in Romagna at Vini ad Arte tasting the new release Sangioveses. Upon return the following day I attended a lovely wine tasting and lunch featuring Montes and Kaiken wines. By Friday I was exhausted and simply did not have the mental energy to prepare a meal. However, that does not mean I did not want something fabulous to pair with this wine. So we called up a local Mexican restaurant called Mi Dia From Scratch and ordered a delicious dinner. I selected a Santa Fe inspired dish called Ox Eyes Stacked Enchiladas; blue corn tortillas, beef, cheese & onion enchiladas, topped with New Mexico red and green chili sauces, and fried eggs. Wow, was it ever a great dinner. The heat from the enchiladas was mild (IMO) so it did not interfere with the wine. It was a great OTBN and the wine was a perfect selection for celebration. Furthermore, the wine was so smooth it was an easy sipper to enjoy without food as well.




“The Almaviva wine exists thanks to the joint venture between Concha y Toro and Baron Philippe de Rothschild, responsible for Chateau Mouton Rothschild in Bordeaux, France. Combining great winemaking traditions and innovations, the main objective of this partnership was to create an exceptional wine in the heart of the valley of the Maipo, in Chile. And every vintage of Almaviva has expressed this vision since its first harvest in 1996.” ~ Viña Concho Y Toro web site

Almaviva winemaker Michel Friou shared some of his knowledge and expertise in an email to assist me in the Snooth article. Here is some of his insight I was unable to share in that article about Almaviva and Puente Alto, Maipo, Chile.

“Almaviva is a fine wine produced in Chile under the French Chateau concept of Grand Cru, made and bottled at the estate’s own winery and vineyard, by a technical team dedicated exclusively to producing one wine. Made from a blend of classic Bordeaux varieties in which Cabernet Sauvignon predominates, Almaviva is a classic wine with its own identity and personality, whose origin on the terrace alluvial of Puente Alto constitutes the main reason of its singular character.

The terroir of Puente Alto is positively influenced by the climatic incidences of the neighboring Andes that moderates the heats of the days and refresh the nights in summer. It helps the grapes to reach their optimal ripeness, without losing in freshness. The wine combines complexity, opulence and freshness of fruit, with precision, finesse, purity and elegance. The quality of its tannins, smooth and silky, firm and present but always accessible, is probably its main distinctive mark.”

I completely agree with Michel Friou, Almaviva offers fresh fruit with finesse, purity, and balanced earthiness for an exceptional wine. I would gladly purchase more of this wine for my own cellar.

Here are what my fellow #WinePW friends uncorked for OTBN:

Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm  will post “How #OTBN happens while on vacation in Dominica”

Jen from Vino Travels will share “Baked sausage rigatoni with Vignavecchia Chianti Classico Riserva”

Sue from A Palatable Pastime is pairing “Pork Carnitas with Saint Cosme Cotes-Du-Rhone”

Cindy from Grape Experiences is posting “Wine and Dine: Two New Zealand Pinot Noirs and One-Pan Chicken”

Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla is pairing “Red Wine Chorizo + 1994 Argyle Reserve Oregon Pinot Noir”

Nancy from Pull That Cork will post “Our OTBN Celebration: The Château Léoville-Las Cases Stole the Show”

Lori from Dracaena Wines is sharing “Wine is in Boxes. It’s OTBN. Still turned out to be a night not to miss”

Martin from ENOFYLZ Wine Blog will post “Batting A Thousand for OTBN Vol 8- A Celebration With Friends“

Jill from L’occasion is opening “A Gigondas from the Cellar“

Julie from Wine-N-Friends will share “A memorable pairing with 2012 Kenzo Murasaki”

David from Cooking Chat is posting “Shiitake Beef Stew with a Special Wine”

Please join us this morning at 10CST on Twitter using #WinePW to share your #OTBN fun.

My Song Selection: Almaviva is elegant, sophisticated, a little funky, jazzy, and wildly pleasing!

Get your own bottle of 2012 Almavivia and let me know what you pair with it. Cheers!

18 responses to “South of the Border for Open That Bottle Night”

  1. Happy birthday! I don’t know how you keep up your schedule! I get tired just reading about all that you do! The wine sounds outrageous! I love it when I read that two winemakers get together to work on a project together. Shows how the industry is. Really just a passion for good wine and no real competition. Always willing to help others.

  2. Happy Birthday! Sounds like you had quite a busy week, but a wonderful wine. I know all about not having time to prep dinner now-a-days ; ) There’s nothing wrong with some takeout.

  3. Happy belated birthday! Sounds like a beautiful wine. Take out happens, might as well have a lovely wine to accompany the delicious food, even if you didn’t prepare it yourself! Cheers!

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