Open that bottle of wine with a good book—February 26, 2010
Tomorrow, February 27, marks the 10th anniversary of "Open that Bottle Night." Inspired by people who have wine they've been saving for a special occasion that never seems to arrive, Washington Post wine columnists Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher, invented "Open That Bottle Night."
In their popular "Tastings" column, they note that many people have wine that they are saving for whatever reason - maybe it was a gift from someone dear or maybe they think it will get better with age. As time goes on, the bottle becomes too precious to ever open and enjoy.
Gaiter and Brecher say that the most common question asked of them is, "When should I open that one special bottle of wine that I've been saving for that one special occasion?"
"This is exactly why we invented Open That Bottle Night, a celebration of wine, friends and memories during which all of us finally pull the cork on that bottle and enjoy the aromas, tastes, tears and laughter that always spill forth. Open That Bottle Night takes place on the last Saturday of every February -- around the time we all need a break."
Numerous books at Hastings Public Library also can help take the intimidation and mystery out of choosing and drinking wine. "Windows on the World Complete Wine Course" by Kevin Zraly examines the whole world of wine from vineyards to vintages. Zraly is the founder and teacher of the prestigious Windows on the World Wine School which has graduated more than 16,000 students. His book is filled with tips on stocking and serving wine at home and ordering it in restaurants.
Other books offer additional perspectives on having the best wine experience, from how and why to swirl without sloshing in "Fear of Wine, an Introductory Guide to the Grape" by Leslie Brenner. . .to fine tuning taste buds in "Wine Savvy" by Heidi Yorkshire.
In "Red, White, and Drunk all Over," author Natalie MacLean offers what she calls "a wine-soaked journey from grape to glass." Her style is to provide valuable information served up with plenty of enthusiasm, color and wit: "Wine descriptions often have a faint scent of condescension over a robust layer of barnyard by-product. The adjectives seem to be the fruit of overripe imaginations: when I hear 'muscular, tight, or rakish,' it's hard to tell whether the critic is talking about wine or Brad Pitt.. ."
For help saying something that fills the gap between raising a glass of wine and drinking it, check out Arnie Levin's "Here's to You," one of numerous library books that contain toasts for all occasions.
So, now that the perfect wine is chosen and the perfect day finally arrives, how about pairing that goblet in one hand with a good Peter Mayle novel in the other? Beloved British author Mayle has several best-selling novels steeped in wine and the business of wine.
"A Good Year," set in Provence, is filled with twists and turns as it tells a fascinating tale with the wine trade as a backdrop. The library also has the 2000 video recording of its movie version with the same name.
"The Vintage Caper" is a light-hearted mystery, a wine heist, which sets a crime expert and wine connoisseur off following leads in vineyards in Hollywood, Paris, Bordeaux and Marseille and promising even the most sophisticated of oenophiles will learn a thing or two.
Make a good wine even better with a book from Hastings Public Library.