Open That Bottle Night Wine Picks by Winemakers and Wine Writers

“When should I open this bottle of wine I’ve been saving for a special occasion?” That question was regularly posed to Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher in the days when they penned their renowned wine column for The Wall Street Journal. In response, the clever writers started “Open That Bottle Night.” The goal was to encourage the inquisitive to just go ahead and open that bottle. The event continues to take place on the last Saturday of every February. If you’ve ever wondered what wines are on the minds of winemakers and wine writers on Open That Bottle Night here’s a little insight.

Mari Womack, Damsel Cellars Winemaker and Proprietor

Winemaker Mari Womack Yearns for a Paso Wine

Mari Womack, winemaker and proprietor of Woodinville’s Damsel Cellars and a VinoSocial client, plans to open the Block B 100% Syrah from Epoch Wines in Paso Robles.

“I was lucky enough to try a tank sample of the Block B Syrah with winemaker Jordan Fiorentini when I visited last spring. I got my hands on a bottle and I can’t wait to open it – the Block B is a plush, layered mix of fruit, earth, and mineral.”

When it comes to her desired dish, “I can’t wait to pair it with grilled lamb meatballs with flavors of cumin, coriander, and allspice. Lamb and syrah always signal spring to me and are a classic pairing.”

Wine Writer Kathleen Willcox Soaks Up Paul Hobbs’ Finger Lake Project

Talented wine writer Kathleen Willcox is the co-founder of Thinking Outside the Bottle. Her captivating work frequently appears in Wine Industry Advisor, Wine Searcher, and Wine Enthusiast.

As an Open the Bottle option, “I would love to revisit Paul Hobbs’ Finger Lakes project, Hillick & Hobbs,” Kathleen says.

“It’s a tribute to his upbringing on his family’s farm in Upstate New York, and the traveling winemaker’s latest estate overlooking Seneca Lake in the FLX is producing some of the best Riesling I’ve ever had. Hobbs is known for running Sebastopol’s Paul Hobbs Winery, and Crossbarn, in addition to working with Mendoza’s Vina Cobos, Cahors’ Crocus, Armenia’s Yacoubin-Hobbs and Galicia’s Alvaredos-Hobbs. All delicious. His Seneca Lakes beauty more than lives up to his reputation for producing terroir-driven wines.”

As for pairing, “This one is delicate but powerful, tangerines, wildflowers, wet rocks, pears, lemons and limes. I love pairing it with chicken schnitzel—a family favorite—with buttered and salty egg noodles.”

Winemaker Jay Anderson Reminisces Over Vouvray

When it comes to memory wines, Jay Anderson of Foundry Vineyards in Walla Walla mentioned Vouvray during an interview for the Slow Wine Guide. The energetic Chenin Blanc comes from the region of the same name in France’s Loire Valley. It was the wine Jay’s father would always order with mussels when dining out. Therefore, it was especially meaningful to Jay when he got access to Chenin Blanc for Pet Project. Not yet familiar? It’s his exciting venture based on the ancestral method of winemaking. The grapes come from the 200-acre organic Arete Vineyard in the Columbia Valley. The result is a zippy effervescent wine with citrus up front and lemon-lime soda like character, contrasted by a rich finish.

Open That Bottle Night Wine Revives Travel Memories

Contemplating memory wines has me thirsty for a bottle over which the hubby and I may reminisce about our travels. A lone bottle from our visit to Castello Monte Vibiano in Italy’s Umbria region still resides in our cellar. I think it’s time to open that bottle.

What bottle are you inspired to open? Head on over to Instagram and #LetsTalkAboutWine using the hashtag #OTBN. You can also find the latest updates from Damsel Cellars, Kathleen Willcox, Foundry Vineyards, and Pet Project Wines.

 

Belle and Bottle Wine Awards Gives Women a Platform

There’s an exciting new wine awards program launching! Founded by Laura Huston, the Belle and Bottle Wine Awards program is to take place for the first time in 2022. Not only does the program highlight top wines. It intends to give women a platform to share their expertise and elevate one another.

Laura Huston of Belle & Bottle

Since I started my own business providing social media and marketing services to the wine industry, one of the joys is that I never know what kind of project will come my way. When Laura asked me to join the advisory panel for the awards program, I couldn’t refuse. After all, when I hosted virtual tastings in 2020 Laura backed me 100% and provided wine through her Belle and Bottle online shop. (By the way, the Food and Wine Magazine named Belle and Bottle Wine Club one of the best wine clubs in America!) It also probably doesn’t hurt that this isn’t my first involvement with a wine awards program. Continue reading “Belle and Bottle Wine Awards Gives Women a Platform”

How Writing Plays a Role in Wine Competitions

Guest author Dana Van Nest shares a behind the scenes look into the Great Northwest Wine competitions.

“Intriguing nose of cherries jubilee, sweet herbs, and chocolate-covered blueberries,” I noted about the 2017 Siren’s Reserve Beijo Red Wine from Siren Song Wines. “Juicy red berries and plum greet you in this smooth and very drinkable blend, and later give way to chocolate and hints of tobacco.”

The Columbia Gorge Hotel where the Great Northwest Invitational takes place

At the Great Northwest Wine Invitational, held this past October at the Columbia Gorge Hotel, I tasted 67 Gold medal-winning wines and wrote tasting notes for each in less than two days. Eric Degerman, journalist and owner of Great Northwest Wine, had invited me to return for a second time as a Chief Judge for this competition (I also served as a Chief Judge at the Cascadia International Wine Competition last May).

With approximately 800 wines entered in this invitation-only competition, we start early with the panels of wine judges receiving their first flights at 8:30 am. The panel is comprised of a number of the region’s most respected wine buyers and merchants. They are a knowledgeable and generous crowd with whom I seriously enjoy getting to work, eat, and drink with for two days. After the panels have chosen the Golds for each flight, the Chief Judges (typically two or three of us) get to work.

Continue reading “How Writing Plays a Role in Wine Competitions”

Let’s Talk About Washington Wine Month

It happens twice a year. This time, there are some twists. So let’s talk about Washington Wine Month,
new ways to celebrate with the Auction of Washington Wines, and how to win a weekend getaway to Washington.

Before we dive in, feel free to review my hashtag guide to Washington Wine Month which offers some explanation as to why we have two months dedicated to vinous celebrations.

Let's talk about Washington Wine Month
Check out the Sip Around Seattle auction lot (number 171) and place your bid!

Celebrate the Auction of Washington Wines

Continue reading “Let’s Talk About Washington Wine Month”

Taste Cava in the Kitchen with Ray Isle

To know me is to know I love bubbles. So how could I refuse an offer to participate in and promote the virtual event, Cava in the Kitchen with Ray Isle? Read on to learn more.

About Cava

First of all, a bit about Cava. This is Spain’s answer to Champagne. In other words, it’s a sparkling wine crafted in the traditional method like Champagne, but made in the Cava DO region of Spain. Although the method for these sparkling wines is similar, the grapes used are not. Cava relies primarily on the Spanish varieties Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarello. Nevertheless, these are wines made with care, yet available at a fraction of the price.

In fact, should you choose to fully participate in this tasting, the bundle of five wines is available from Gary’s Marketplace for a mere $86.95. Purchased individually, the wines range from $12.99 to $22.99 a bottle. If you’re into sparkling wine at all, you know that’s an incredible deal. When the wine samples arrived at my door, I was so excited to taste them!

Cava in the Kitchen Event Details

Cava, the longtime darling of sommeliers and bartenders around the world, is positioning itself internationally as the quality-driven wine that offers a glass of sparkling for every occasion.
This virtual tasting led by Ray Isle, executive wine editor of Food & Wine Magazine, will focus on the versatility of Cava—this traditional method sparkling wine offers a perfect pairing to a myriad of dishes that enhance every occasion, from everyday cuisine to celebratory meals. This tasting will explore the wide array of styles with distinct flavor profiles of Cava … whether you’re a novice or expert, this session is sure to unveil something new about why this Spanish sparkling wine is so in demand around the world. Featured wines include:

• Alta Alella Mirgin Rosé Reserva
• Bodegas Langa Reyes de Aragón ‘El Castro’ Reserva Brut
• Canals & Munné Dionysus Reserva Brut Nature
• Naveran Brut Vintage
• Roger Goulart Gran Reserva 2015
• Segura Viudas Brut Reserva

Don’t miss your chance to taste these wines along with Ray!

Jun 10, 2021
1:00 PM Pacific

Join live or register for the Zoom webinar.

Secure your wine selections at Gary’s Wine & Marketplace.