In 1999, the Wall Street Journal began the phenomenon of Open That Bottle Night “…the world-wide celebration of friends, family and memories during which all of us finally drink that wine that is otherwise simply too special to open.”
Four years earlier I conceived a similar tradition when I was pregnant with my second child. Finally organizing the wine in our cellar, I wondered aloud why we were saving so many notable wine instead of drinking them. It was then and there, in my abstinence, that I vowed we would start enjoying these collectibles with pals. Supersizing this plan, I decided that our guests would choose the wine and that I w0uld never, ever, flinch or balk at their choice.
My commitment to this ideal was put to the test in the summer of 1996. We had recently met John Lasseter, fresh off his Toy Story success and then directing Bug’s Life. He and his wife Nancy and their boys joined us for burgers by the pool. When it came time to get the wine I admit I hesitated briefly. This was burgers not filet mignon after all – I was about to institute my new policy to share with ground beef.
After a few cleansing breaths I invited John into our cellar. I figured it was probably best not to watch the process, so I went upstairs to slice the watermelon. Ten minutes later John emerged. Triumphantly he held his selection over his head like the Olympic torch:
1985 Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve Speciale.
When Richard Arrowood gifted it to me he explained that this was the very first vintage and he was giving me his last bottle.
What was with Lasseter? How could he sniff out the only bottle of that precious vintage?
It was then and there that I dubbed him the Truffle Pig.
We opened the wine and let me tell you, there was never was a better pairing. More importantly, I remember exactly where we were, what we were eating and the friends with whom we shared our repast.
Fast forward to the present day.
The Lasseters are my co-BFFs, Richard Arrowood is our winemaster and our wine was mentioned in the Wall Street Journal’s March 21st article celebrating the tenth Open Your Botle Night:
“1989 Smothers Winery Remick Ridge Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon (California): “At first, we were a bit skeptical — it had very little fruit and no tannins left — but over the course of a few hours it opened up and had a very soft, round feel.” Peter Lefkowitz and Lori Silver, Newton, Mass.”
It’s the circle of life.