I’ve long been a fan of “Open That Bottle Night,” pioneered by Wall Street Journal wine columnists Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher. Essentially, OTBN is intended to encourage wine lovers to open “that very special wine that they always mean to open, but never do.”
Whether it’s “that special bottle” or a more everyday bottle of wine, here are five of my favorite reasons to drink it now:
1. Wines may age well, but they don’t last forever. Though exceptional bottles get better with cellaring, that improvement isn’t indefinite. That’s right, even the world’s finest and most age-worthy wines have a shelf life. And if you’re hanging on to simple, quaffable wines, be they white, red, or rosé, it’s time to enjoy them now. Read up on your more special bottles—you can use resources like The Oxford Companion to Wine to investigate the maturation timelines of your wines — and pop corks accordingly.
2. Dinner’s right around the corner. There are some wines that just shouldn’t be drunk solo. Many big, tannic reds like Barolo or Bordeaux, for example, beg to be paired with food. So why wait? When you’re cooking, think pairing. If you’re grilling up a porterhouse, crack open a special bottle. Your dinner will thank you.
3. Because it’s hot. If you’ve been hanging on to a bottle in your fridge, remember that there are few things as delightful and refreshing as a cold glass of white in sweltering summer heat. Even the cold condensation on the glass is a relief. Bonus points if that white is acidic, aromatic, and has light-to-no oak; check behind your leftovers for a Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling.
4. Shiny new toys. You didn’t need a reason to buy the push-button corkscrew that lights up, those stemless wine glasses, or a neat new aerator. Maybe your last birthday brought you a decanter that sings (okay, I made up that last gizmo). But the point is this: opening a bottle gives you a reason to play with your nifty wine gadgets.
5. It’s Wine o’Clock! In other words, an affectionate term for that twilight between knocking off work for the day and sitting down to dinner. I think the best occasion for wine is when you’re in the process of preparing a meal. There’s nothing that unwinds you quite like opening a bottle that you mean to cook with; a splash of wine to deglaze the pan, and another generous splash for your glass as supper simmers on the stove top. That’s wine o’clock.
What’s your favorite reason for opening a bottle of wine? Please share it below!