This past Saturday was Open That Bottle Night. I’d forgotten about it, until I saw a bunch of tweets on Saturday night. OTBN asks that you take that special bottle of wine you’ve been saving for a special occasion, and just open it. No occasion is ever special enough, right? I’m particularly bad at hanging onto wine for a special occasion, so OTBN is a good exercise for me, and I never regret it.
Last year we opened a Staglin Family 20th Anniversary Cabernet Sauvignon. This year, we dived into my Pinot Noir collection. Every year I find some small little Pinot Noir vintner and invest in 3 bottles. I know 3 bottles isn’t a lot, but it is to my pocketbook. Generally these pinots aren’t cheap. Last year, when I met Adam Lazarre and fell head over heels for his Hahn wines, I knew I’d found my pinot investment for the year. Adam, in addition to his winemaking responsibilities at Villa San Juliette, also has his own label that is exclusively pinot noir. I immediately ordered my 3 bottles.
2005 Lazarre Pinot Noir Sierra Madre Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley
~$40 (I can’t quite remember), special ordered from The Party Source
This particular pinot, of which there were only 112 cases made, is from Santa Maria Valley. Santa Maria, considered part of California’s Central Coast, is one of the state’s coolest grape-growing regions and offers one of the longest seasons between bud and harvest. It’s a superstar region for both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Maybe it’s because I have a “wine crush” on Adam Lazarre. (Leave me alone. I can still have crushes.) But I’ve always found his Pinot Noirs to have a bit of sex appeal, and they do tend to send me reeling into hyperbole. This bottle was no exception.
It’s a bit young and would benefit from some more time in the bottle. That’s fine with me, considering I’ve got two more bottles maturing in my basement. It also would have benefited from some air. Since I remembered OTBN at the last minute, we pretty much opened and poured at 10 pm on Saturday night. So with our first taste, the wine was still a bit tight. That said, it was still enjoyable, with a lot of earthiness. Our first night with this wine made me think of the Latin dances I learn in ballroom. They are all sexy and just this side of wild, with all of the passion starting at the earth and working it’s way up to the hips.
The next night we finished the bottle and it had taken the time to open up a bit. Why do I think I still need to age the other 2 bottles? Because even on night two, this pinot was a bit wild and untamed. It lost a bit of the earthiness and instead was silky, like the perfect lingerie. To continue the ridiculous analogy I started above, our second night with this wine was more like an Argentine Tango, a dance that started in the bordellos of South America.
Adam’s wines seem to affect me on an emotional level. As many wines as I drink, that really doesn’t happen very often. It’s also why I’d give my left arm to afford the Morton’s wine dinner next week, featuring Villa San Juliette.
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