Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Winey Tasting Notes: I Made Friends With the Discontinued Shelf for "Open That Bottle Night"

As if I needed someone to tell me to open a bottle. But the idea is a good one. Because at one time or another, we've all gotten a bottle of wine and decided to save it for a special occasion. It could be that you got it on vacation and wanted to revisit the memory at just the right time. Maybe it was a gift from a good friend. Maybe it was more than you spend on a bottle but just couldn't resist. But a bunch of wine folks have recently realized that there are a LOT of such bottles out there. And while some wine is made to be aged years and years, the majority of wines are not. So they gave people "permission" to open those bottles and designated the last Saturday in February as "Open That Bottle Night".

It wasn't hard for me to choose the bottle I'd open. It was a bottle of 2008 Moon Mountain Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (14.5%, organic, Sonoma Valley, CA, ~$32). It is a pricier wine than I usually buy, but I didn't pay $32 for the bottle. It was on "special" for only $10.99. Why? Well, it seems that Moon Mountain Vineyards doesn't exist anymore. They were sold a while back and the new owners are going to revamp the entire vineyard (which has been around for quite some time, but with lots of different owners). So no more Moon Mountain wines, hence the sale price.

So, I can't really tell you to go out and buy this wine, but I can tell you that it is totally worth your winey little while to get to know your wine store folks. I wouldn't have tried this had not my wine guy told me about a great Cabernet Sauvignon that had just been put on the discontinued shelf. It's little moments like finding a great wine at a great price that make being winey so much fun!

I knew no matter what I thought of the wine, I'd mostly likely be hard pressed to find it again. But I do love my wine guy! So home with me it came. Moon Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec, 2% Merlot, and 2% Petit Verdot. (Anyone else thinking the word "mutt" here?) According to the label, it has an "elegant tannin structure, complex layers of wild blackberry, cassis...a hint of espresso, spice and sage".  Well, I sure got a lot of blackberry upon sniffing this wine. And I like blackberries, so that's a good thing! Also a little coffee and a bit of oak. the taste was a sort of a blackberry coffee - heavier on the blackberry, and maybe that cassis was giving it the "tang". The finish was long and oaky - but in a warm oak way. The tannins were very well behaved - not sharp and biting (OK, it does sound like I'm talking about a dog now, doesn't it?). But remember, I love doggies. And anyway, mutt and biting references aside, this was a nice Cabernet Sauvignon. It just won't be available again.

So, as I said above, our takeaway lesson today is to explore your wine store! Talk to the folks who work there...they could lead you to a nice find on their obscure shelves...and you too just might have something fun to write about next year on "Open That Bottle Night"!


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