In 2000, Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher of the Wall St. Journal created an event called, "Open That Bottle Night." It takes place on the last Saturday in February, and as it sounds, on this day you're supposed to open a bottle of wine you've been saving and have yet to find the occasion to open.
Among several bottles that I've been hanging onto was a 1978 Chateau Lafite Rothschild. I bought this bottle a few years back from a local restaurant and had since been waiting for the perfect time to uncork it. So, while visiting my family in Ohio during this year's Open That Bottle Night, February 28th, I decided it was time to open this time capsule of a wine.
I crossed my fingers that it wasn't corked as I cut the foils and gingerly tried to remove the cork. It began to crumble due to age, but I was able to remove it, but sadly, not in one piece. As soon as the wine was breached, I could smell that there was no cork taint, and I anxiously poured some into a glass, forgoing any decanting, as to keep the wine alive as long as possible. Here are my tasting notes:
"Deep garnet, brick rim.
Cherry, plum, baked brick , black olive, sweet cherry, cherry licorice, deep cocoa, dark chocolate, vanilla, farm, leather, coffee bean, cola leaf.
En bouche, beautiful. Sturdy but tannins are softened. Elegant on the palate and long finish. Cherry and plum with vanilla."
This wine was beautiful but it's elegance fleeting quickly. From the time of opening the bottle, the wine died in an hour, eventually tasting flat and tired. But in that time it was incredible, complex, exciting, and delicious. The experience is beyond words, but restores faith that there is some type of magic in this world.