Open That Bottle Night, 2015

As some of you already know, tomorrow (the last Saturday in February) is Open That Bottle Night (OTBN), which was an event originated back in the year 2000 by Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher, the revered then-wine-writers at the Wall Street Journal (yes, the same publication in which my wife recently appeared [she is the one on the left]—Warning: don’t read that article unless you are in the mood to be really sad). The premise of OTBN is fairly simple: Most wine drinkers that have more than a few bottles in the house, have at least one bottle that they covet above all others. They are saving that bottle for a special occasion: perhaps a promotion, the birth of a child, your team winning the national championship in football.

For whatever reason, that bottle is not opened: the event never comes (you get fired), the event is deemed not worthy (your sister-in-law turns out to be a complete, well, “bad person” and you never get to see the kid), or the event is not all that special (you are an insufferable Michigan fan, in which case, you will likely never celebrate a national championship).

So the bottle sits, waiting to be enjoyed.

Thus the brilliant idea set forth by Gaiter and Brecher was to make the opening of the bottle itself the event. Their theory was, essentially, that you have waited long enough for the “right moment” but that “right moment” might never come, so just Open That Bottle.

We have “celebrated” OTBN at least the last ten years and look forward to it each year. Over my years of being a wine snob, I have amassed a few “that bottles” so I am fortunate (or unfortunate, depending on how you look at it) to be able to choose from a few to open for each time. This year, I have narrowed it down to five.

The Contenders:

FullSizeRender-21999 Domaine Remy Bursot Le Duo de Bourgogne Beaune 1er Cru Bressandes: I bought this wine at the winery back in 2002 while leading a bike tour through Burgundy. We had stopped at this little producer in Chambolle-Musigny somewhat on a whim, and ended up doing a two-hour plus tasting. The first hour, the tasting was lead by Remy’s 12-year-old son since his mother and father were still out in the vineyard tending to the vines (for the second hour, Remy joined us). I have consumed two of the three bottles of this Pinot Noir (the last in 2012) that I schlepped around Burgundy on my bike–and both have been fabulous.

FullSizeRender-41971 Domaine Huet Vouvray Moelleux Clos du Bourg: I bought this Chenin Blanc off an online “friend” of mine several years ago and you likely do not want to know what I paid (it was not much). I visited Domaine Huet for the first time this past fall–a couple of years after the much talked about departure of the legendary wine maker, Noel Pinguet (who left, seemingly, as a result of a conflict with the relatively “new” American owners). This bottle, though, predates Noel by a few years, when his father, Gaston, was the winemaker.

FullSizeRender-51997 Mailly Grand Cru Champagne Cuvée les Echansons: This bottle was given as a gift from a good friend after we rode our bikes through the Alpes and then on to Champagne (the picture on this blog with all the champagne loaded onto the back of the bike comes from that trip–in fact, this bottle was one of those on the bike!). It comes from one of our favorite Champagne houses, Mailly Grand Cru, which is a co-operative located in the middle of the village of Mailly.

FullSizeRender-31979 Château Les Ormes de Pez: I am not entirely sure when I acquired this classic Bordeaux blend bottle, but I do know that I got it in an online auction, it comes from one of the top Cru Bourgeois producers (it was, in fact, one of the 9 wineries to receive the top Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel designation in the now defunct 2003 classification, but that is for another article). I also know that this wine is not getting any better and, in fact, is likely in decline.

FullSizeRender1976 Deinhard Winkeler Hasensprung Riesling Auslese: We drank the first bottle of this a couple of years ago when Oliver (The Winegetter) was in town. As some of you may know, Oliver is as close to an “expert” on German Riesling as any of us will ever likely know, so it seemed like a good fit to open it with him. Well, similar to the Ormes de Pez, this is likely not getting any better, but I have been waiting for the “right” time to open it (I can’t wait for Oliver to come back to Philly forever).

So which wine do you think I should open this year?


About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Vouvray, Wine and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Open That Bottle Night, 2015

  1. joyofwine says:

    The Riesling…definitely the Riesling….


  2. Damon says:

    I would definitely open the Les Ormes du Pez – that wine is definitely not improving in your cellar and old Bordeaux is always fascinating, if not pleasurable. My second choice would be the Huet – those old wines almost never disappoint.


  3. I think you should start with the Vouvray then open the Bordeaux. Whatever you select they all look awesome! I wish I had some old French wines but alas mine are all babies and won’t be opened on Saturday. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lulu says:

    I will have to enjoy wine vicariously this month as I’ve given it up until after Easter. So far it’s not so bad though I do miss sharing a glass with the hubby at dinner.


  5. talkavino says:

    I would go with Huet – 1971 Vouvray should be interesting.


  6. vinoinlove says:

    I’d go for the ’76 Riesling Auslese. Cheers!


  7. The 1979 Les Ormes de Pez. Since it is only likely to decline and not get better. I am doing the same opening a 1991 that may or may not still be good.


  8. Beth says:

    1979 Château Les Ormes de Pez or the 1976 Deinhard Winkeler Hasensprung Riesling Auslese, based on what you wrote: the first is probably in decline and you are unsure of the second. Or make this OTBN the one when you open at least two. 🙂


  9. alisonmarriott says:

    I LOVE this concept and somehow have never heard of it before now (?!) Looks like you have some fantastic contenders! I’ll be popping open a bottle of Jacquesson to sip while watching the pre-release of “A Year in Champagne”!


  10. thefermentedfruit says:

    Tough call! I think you should preclude the Auslese and the Bordeaux from this demanding consideration since they need to be drunk anyway… Why not go with great celebratory champs or open the burgundy and toast to the young man who served you all those years ago – who can today open a special bottle of his own to enjoy on this special day. Either way, I look forward to seeing what you decide! I’m flying solo with the three kiddies tomorrow so am on the fence as to whether a special bottle should be opened… Cheers!


  11. I say the ’79 Bordeaux… Cheers!


  12. Well I vote for the bottle that is in the most decline at this time. Otherwise, won’t it just get “not as good?” (as opposed to worse, as it seems they would still be fabulous).


  13. I love the idea of OTBN! I’d go for the Château Les Ormes de Pez: first 🙂


  14. Stefano says:

    I would totally go for the 1979 Château Les Ormes de Pez: I would gladly swing by for a sip myself! 😉


  15. chef mimi says:

    I would turn it into a week long event…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.