March 2, 2009
Open That Bottle Night: the verdict

Saturday night marked the 10th annual Open That Bottle Night, and in an earlier posting I narrowed my field to three potential bottles: Mayacamas 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon, d'Arenberg 2003 Dead Arm Shiraz and a semillon from 1986 whose producer I couldn't remember. So after some consideration, I opted to commemorate this occasion for opening a special bottle with the 1986 semillon. The cabernet and shiraz still have plenty of life in them, so I chose the wine that was the oldest of the three.

So I got my Ah-So cork puller and reached for the winner: a 1986 Mount Pleasant Lovedale Semillon from Australia's Hunter Valley. These wines are unoaked and meant for serious bottle aging, and in this case the wine wasn't even released until 1996 (i.e. 10 years after its vintage date).

But how has this semillon fared over the last 23 years?
The cork was still in good shape, if not a bit slippery. And once in the glass, the wine was a deep yellow-orange color and almost looked like apple juice. The nose smelled of honey and was slightly nutty, but with a tinge of alcohol heat. In the mouth the wine was fairly light, but rich with baked apple and fig flavors. The acidity still present in this wine made it all feel very much alive instead of a fuddy-duddy. Thanks, Open That Bottle Night, for inspiring me to pop this bottle. Until a week ago, I'd forgotten it was in my collection.

Anyone else have an Open That Bottle Night experience that you want to share? Leave a comment ...

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