February 25 was “Open the Bottle Night” (otherwise known as OTBN), an annual event started by Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher, Wall Street Journal contributors. The idea is for wine lovers to open a bottle of wine that has been languishing in the basement (errr, wine cellar) for years, that was gifted to you by a generous friend with deep pockets, or that you’ve been saving for a long awaited not-yet-realized “special occasion”. In essence, at OTBN, there are no rules. Just open one (or ten) enticing bottle(s) of wine and sip with friends…or by yourself in a bubble bath. Anything goes! “Open the Bottle Night” is a splendid idea…especially for casual wine drinkers who may not tipple as much as others or for those who love to party and share their favorite wines.
As if we needed yet another reason to open a bottle of wine, the cheerful wine-swilling, food-centric Twitter group named #winePW has chosen OTBN to be the theme for this month’s wine and food pairing (see links at the end of the article). Please log on to Twitter to find our group on March 11 at 11am EST and use the hashtag #winePW to share your noteworthy wine and food pairings. Whether you popped a cork on OTBN or not, our conversation promises to be entertaining and enlightening, especially with David Crowley, the brains behind Cooking Chat Food, at the helm. I hope to “see” you there.
In the grand spirit of OTBN, I decided to open not one, but two bottles of Pinot Noir. Each (sent as a sample) is from a different region in New Zealand: Martinborough on the North Island and Central Otago on the South Island. Both wines complemented, for different reasons, a fresh and flavorful recipe I found in a recent issue of Southern Living magazine, One-Pan Chicken with Lemon, Olives, and Artichokes.
Located near the small town of Martinborough, New Zealand, Craggy Range Winery is known for its single-vineyard Pinot Noirs. The first wine of the evening, Craggy Range Winery Te Muna Road Pinot Noir 2013 ($44.99), was of grapes sourced from the Te Muna Road Vineyard. The Martinborough region boasts stony soils, a cooler climate than the rest of the North Island, and a defined diurnal range, elements that help create wines that exhibit ripeness and complexity. The Craggy Range selection was no exception. I discovered luscious aromas of cherries, strawberries, red berry compote, spice, pepper, and subtle notes of freshly picked roses. The palate was equally enticing. Dry, with mouthwatering acidity and integrated tannins, intense flavors of rich red berries, damp earth, and spice were as approachable as they were elegant.
One-Pan Chicken with Lemon, Olives, and Artichokes
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts halves
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (divided)
- 3/4 teaspoons black pepper (divided)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (divided)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
- 2 cans whole artichokes (14-oz cans) (drained and halved)
- 2 small red onions (vertically sliced)
- 1 1/2 cup Castelvetrano or picholine olives (pitted and divided)
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 lemon (thinly sliced)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme (divided)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 2 cups cooked pearl couscous
|Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Pat chicken dry and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Dust chicken with 2 tablespoons of the flour.|
|Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, enameled cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add half of the chicken to the skillet and cook until brown on both sides, about 6 minutes, turning once.|
|Remove chicken to a platter and keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining half of chicken.|
|Add artichokes, onion, and 1 cup of the olives to skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is just softened, 3-4 minutes.|
|Add remaining 2 tablespoons flour to skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add broth, lemon slices, and 1 tablespoon of the thyme, scraping bottom of skillet to loosen any browned bits.|
|Return chicken to skillet, nestling into the sauce. Cover and cook 20 minutes. Uncover and cook until a thermometer inserted in the thickest portion of chicken registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit, about 15 minutes.|
|Meanwhile, coarsely chop remaining 1/2 cup olives. Combine chopped olives, parsley, and remaining 1 tablespoon thyme, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.|
|Serve chicken, artichoke mixture, and chopped olive-herb mixture over couscous.|
One entrée and two Pinot Noirs from New Zealand provided an infinite amount of pleasure during a perfect stay-at-home “Open the Bottle Night”. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Cheers! ~ Cindy
Following are links to more #OTBN wine and food pairings from my #winePW colleagues. Enjoy!
Jen from Vino Travels will share Baked sausage rigatoni with Vignavecchia Chianti Classico Riserva
Cindy from Grape Experiences is posting Wine and Dine: Two New Zealand Pinot Noirs and One-Pan Chicken
Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla is pairing Red Wine Chorizo + 1994 Argyle Reserve Oregon Pinot Noir
Lori from Dracaena Wines is sharing Wine is in Boxes. It’s OTBN. Still turned out to be a night not to miss
Martin from ENOFYLZ Wine Blog will post Batting A Thousand for OTBN Vol 8- A Celebration With Friends
Gwendolyn from Wine Predator is posting Cheers to Open That Bottle Night 2017 with Champagne from Bollinger