Coup de Foudre – When Lighting Strikes #OTBN

I chose this bottle to celebrate – albeit a day late – Open That Bottle Night #OTBN. This day was the idea of Dorothy Gaither and John Brecher, longtime husband and wife, New York Times wine journalists, and authors. The idea is that life is short and you shouldn’t wait for a reason to open that bottle of wine that you are holding on to for a special occasion. Gathering with friends and sharing a bottle of wine, is a special occasion in and of itself. Now in it’s 21st, year, Open That Bottle Night, is the last Saturday of February, and it brings wine lovers from across the globe together to enjoy life.

I celebrated a day late because I gave up wine for Lent. If I had a bottle called Hell Has Froze Over, that would’ve been the one to open under the circumstances. But I digress.

I first encountered Coup de Foudre at a wine tasting of Cabernet Sauvignons. I cannot recall the vintage, but it made an impression. When I spied this bottle at my local Costco several years ago, I snatched it up. I’m not sure why I haven’t opened it before now, but at some point it became a wine that I was holding on to for a special occasion. Maybe because I have never seen it at Costco again, or any other wine shop that I frequent.

I had been planning on grilled salmon and roasted asparagus on Sunday all week, and with the temperature reaching the mid 70’s, I was leaning strongly towards a Chardonnay, perhaps a Pinot Noir. I made the last minute decision to finally pull this bottle from the shelf, when I realized it was predominantly Merlot, followed by Cabernet Franc, and a splash of Petit Verdot. I usually find Merlot to be a little gentler and rounder than most red grapes, and there is not much I don’t like with Cabernet Franc, so I decided it was time to open this bottle, especially since, technically, I was only a few hours late to the party.

Coup de Foudre|2014|37.2 Cuvee|Napa Valley|15.1% ABV|$75

I am quite certain I paid less than $40 for this bottle at Costco, so I was tickled pink when I saw the price when buying direct from the winery. Due to Coup de Foudre’s small production, you can only purchase each wine in quantities of 6. So, to get my hands on this bottle (6 of them to be fair), it would cost me a total of $561, after tax and shipping. What a score this bottle was!

The wine is meant to be a Napa Valley version of a Pomerol wine, and since I love a good Right Bank Bordeaux, I will say I think it hits the mark beautifully. My notes have aromas of blackberry and dark fruit, oregano, anise, and cedar. By the end of the bottle I had an aromas of minerality, blueberry, and roasted meat. On the palate, the fruit carried over, with tobacco on the finish that lasted forever. The mouthfeel of this wine I can only describe as plush. It was big, but velvety, with a bright and fresh acidity that was perfectly integrated. It was surprisingly fresh for a six and half year old wine.

I could not find information on the vintification or aging process of this wine. Based on professional reviews I was able to suss out that the 2014 vintage composition is 65% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot.

Immediately after decanting, my first tastes of this wine, I did think this wine had a high ABV, but I would have never guessed 15.1%. While it did have evidence of some heat, it was subtle, and the velvety mouthfeel overshadowed the slight bit of heat I did get between mid palate and the finish. After about an hour of decanting that was no longer present.

If you like to know the story behind the wine, this one reads like an all-star cast. The man behind Coup de Foudre is, long time Napa Valley wine veteran, John Schwartz. The story behind the name of this label is a cute one, involving his now wife, and then girlfriend, at an event in the French Alps. You can read the details here. John schwartz is also the man behind Amuse Bouche wines, with famed winemaker Heidi Barrett. Most recently he has partnered with Ayesha Curry on Domaine Curry wines.

The winemaker is Kent Jarman, who has been associated with several other wineries I love – Duckhorn (assistant), Somerston, and Kenefick Ranch, where he is also the current winemaker. I did not know this until I researched this wine, and I truly love connecting dots like that.

The wine paired great with the grilled salmon. We like to play around with the smoker and we did half on cedar plank, and half directly on the grill. They were both delicious, The cedar plank brought out the flavors in the rub, but the salmon that was placed directly on the grill was more moist and buttery.

I wrapped some of my asparagus in prosciutto because I had left overs that I didn’t know what else to with. The chocolate balsamic vinaigrette that I recently discovered through a local Atlanta chef, came out to play here – so good. I often hear that veggies, asparagus in particular, are hard to pair with wine, but if you roast them to caramelized yumminess, they pair really well in my opinion,

If I was in any way unsure of my decision to open this bottle for Open That Bottle Night, all doubt disappeared when I realized the label has a peel off sticker on top of it, so that you can remember the occasion of drinking this wine. Perfect!

Did you celebrate Open That Bottle Night? What did you choose? I’d love to hear about it.

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