Open That Bottle Night: 1999 Valley of the Moon Cuvée de la Luna

In preparation for Open That Bottle Night (live, only on Palate Press; Saturday, February 26 from 7 pm – 10 pm EST), Ryan Reichert, managing editor for Palate Press, shares some information on the bottle he plans to open for the event.

In the early spring of 2008 I made my first trek from Ohio to the west coast, determined to immerse myself in all the wine culture I could in Napa and Sonoma. The journey was made with two of my closest friends, Lindsay and Danielle. We were headed to California, and not even a last minute airline bankruptcy was going to stop us.

We saved for an entire year for this trip, planning details, arranging schedules, researching wineries, scouring for restaurants, and deciding on sights to see in San Francisco. Making base in Santa Rosa, we spent 11 days exploring beautiful northern California, focusing our weekday activities on wine tasting. I’m embarrassed—but also childishly proud—to say we visited nearly 60 wineries in a short five days, each one a unique and memorable experience.

One stop in Sonoma County that we all really enjoyed was Valley of the Moon in Glen Ellen. The tasting room was surrounded by gnarled and twisted old zinfandel vines. Inside, however, we were seduced by the bold Cuvée de la Luna red blends being made using traditional Bordeaux varieties—cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and merlot. We ended up leaving with a 6-bottle library pack that contained two bottles each of the 1999, 2000, and 2001 vintages. Danielle and I split the wines, both taking one of each vintage. Lindsay insisted on keeping the decorative box.

Since that trip we’ve always shared the Cuvée de la Luna bottles on special occasions, celebrations, and holidays. New Years Eve 2008 we traveled east to Massachusetts in search of a location for their wedding. That evening we opened one of the bottles to celebrate the year ahead … which held big changes in all of our lives.

They were married in March, and later that year I left Ohio, relocating to Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Lindsay and Danielle were the last people I said goodbye to before leaving home for good.

This past winter I headed back to Ohio to visit friends and family for the holidays, and spent New Years Eve in good company with my partner, Lindsay, and Danielle. Unfortunately we didn’t get to have those last bottles of Cuvée de la Luna that we each have, the ’99 vintage, instead having our fill of Oregon wines I had brought with me.

So for Open That Bottle Night we’ll share our 1999 Cuvée de la Luna together, just a short 2,339 miles apart.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Having grown up in the midwest, Ryan Reichert followed his passion for wine to the Willamette Valley region of Oregon. Always the explorer seeking to learn more he has travelled around the United States and through France, Spain, and Italy. He holds the Advanced Certificate with Distinction from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, is a French wine enthusiast, a certified Spanish Wine Educator, and is working towards certification as a sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers. Ryan is the creator and author for Northwest Whites, a site dedicated entirely to the white wines of the Pacific Northwest. You can also learn more about Ryan on his personal website. Ryan lives in Portland, OR.[/author_info] [/author]