Open the bottle already!
Veggies: Just relived the Jamaican curry and greens from this summer, with fantastic results
Wine: Finally opened the 2003 Fattoria Le Terrazze from a years-ago wine tasting
Even as a teen, I was haunted by a story my dad told me about a distant relative. Said few-times-removed uncle was a tad curmudgeonly. And stingy. For reasons unknown--and completely out of character--he purchased a case of expensive bubbly that sat and sat in his basement. Friends and family often prodded him to open a bottle or two on celebratory occasions, but he always refused. So, you can guess how this story ends, right? Yep. All the bottles were consumed, with immense enjoyment, immediately following his funeral.
Who wants to be that guy? Not me. I have a pretty obnoxious house rule that often extends beyond the boundaries of my own four walls in which I'm obligated to have at least a taste of whatever bottle of wine is opened in my presence. I can't help myself. I'm both greedy and generous when it comes to wine. I want everyone--including me--to enjoy the bottle.
I like to keep my small home wine bar well-stocked at all times, but it's looking pretty bare these days. Which is why I kept noticing a bottle I'd purchased at a UC wine tasting several years ago, usually hidden under four or five other bottles in that particular rack. It's rare that I keep a bottle of wine that long, but honestly, I was kind of freaked out about it. This was not a sipping wine. This was a full-barnyard, we've-got-the-funk kind of bottle. I couldn't resist buying it, but I had no idea when, and with what, I was ever going to drink it. Last Friday, I decided that it didn't matter if I didn't have the perfect food pairing ... I was going to open it. I took one sip before pouring my glass back into the bottle, which then promptly went in the refrigerator. What the hell was I thinking? All of these years, just waiting to taste it, and I was disappointed. I hadn't prepared exactly the right meal. It wasn't the right time. I should have waited until I had a better plan.
A few days later, I realized that I was going to end up wasting this highly anticipated bottle of wine if I didn't just drink it. So, with a few hunks of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (a guilty pleasure for me these days, being nearly vegan and all), I tried it again. Lovely. Grabbed a handful cashews. Fantastic! And that's how I've been enjoying every sip of this wine for the past few nights.
I'm enjoying that last glass as I type. Simply. Without fanfare. No need to wait for a special moment. I've created it myself. So, for those of you who might be present at my wake: You have full permission to enjoy a drink as you toast me. But, you're going to have to bring your own bottle ... I'm afraid there won't be anything left :)
*Trust me, this really works: An opened bottle of red wine keeps better if you store it in the refrigerator. When you're ready for a glass, pour it into a microwave-safe container and nuke for 15 seconds. Thanks to Mike from The Naked Vine for that great tip.