Wine Talk

Snooth User: jtryka

Opening a great bottle just for the fun of it?

Posted by jtryka, Jul 18, 2012.

Ok, I'll admit it, I'm kind of a bone head when it comes to wine.  I buy some nice bottles thinking I'll enjoy them for special occasions and then they never really arrive!  Sure, there are some rare occasions, like a few years ago when I gave away a bottle of '93 Moet White Star to my best friend from High School when he was accepted to the Chicago Fire Dept. but these events seem to be few and far between (that was a jinx, not I'll prabably be invited to 6 weddings next summer).  Despite these gifts, I still have a bottle of '86 Margaux I bought in Paris in 1995 (Back before there were stormtroopers to confiscate anything more than a shot of liquid on a plane), a bottle of '88 Brunello I bought in Rome in '96 and at this point I figure I'll die and someone will open them at my funeral!

So what can I do?  I just feel really guilty about opening a $50 or $100 bottle of wine on a Saturday, just because I feel like it.  How do you all cope with this (and geez, I hope I don't sound like some whining snob right now!), but maybe I'll just crack them open for fun this weekend!

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Reply by EMark, Jul 18, 2012.

I think you have a good plan.

Here's an alternative, though.  Bring that Margaux and the Brunello, and whatever else you have over here to Diamond Bar.  We'll invite Jon D. and Carmen over and I, myself, will go deep into my cellar, and we'll have some fun. ;-)

Seriously, though, I relate to your quandary.  Guys like us are just ordinary blokes.  If we shell out serious bucks (however that may be defined), we would like to think that after carefully preserving those investments, the unveiling will be something memorable.  As often as not, the event does not match the glory of the wine, or the wine does not match the glory of the event.

The more I think about it, the more I think you should open them up this weekend and enjoy them with your family and friends.  Make a celebration of the weekend of July 21/22.  Then, come back to us on Monday and tell us about it.


Reply by Mike Madaio, Jul 18, 2012.

I like the idea of creating an occasion. (And you are more than welcome to have it at my house.)

Have you seen

Reply by GregT, Jul 18, 2012.

EMark is right. In addition, it's really surprising how quickly a $50 wine can become something regular and not so special!  Fact is, the more you obsess over the right time, the less likely it is that the wine will live up to your expectations.  The wine will be just the same; it's your expectations that aren't going to make it.  We don't have a word for it in English, but it's a little like performance anxiety. Why do you think guys like girls who have a sense of humor? 

So my suggestion is not that you waste the wine with some fast food. In fact, you shouldn't even be eating that.  But you have some fairly mature wine. Surely you know a few people who like food and wine?  Create your own special occasion. Invite a couple of friends over, prepare either some dish you're good at or some dish you've never prepared before, and crack the wine.

I'm lazy.  I love having people over - I just never invite them.  Used to have a bunch of friends who'd invite themselves and that was great.  They all moved away tho . . .

Only thing is, in your case, I'd wait until fall. It's just never the same when you're in the midst of summer.  Make some margaritas this week.

Oh, BTW - I hope you've kept those bottles in some reasonable storage?  If they've been on top of the fridge for all these years, run out and buy something for your dinner.

Reply by Aobregon, Jul 18, 2012.

Love this situation and I agree with the rest of the posters.  There are lots of events and special times to make up for this special bottle...such as..celebrate your friendship (s), or ur job, or your good health. Reflect back on all the good people in ur life, ur kids, or spouse...or ur God.  Heck, celebrate the weather, or ur garden, or even the fact that u finally cleaned out that messy closet or garage..oh wait....that's for me....whatever it is that is good in ur life.....then celebrate it!

Reply by Onin24eagle, Jul 18, 2012.

I like GregT's advice.  Get some friends and create an event.  Better yet, get some friends that you know have the same "problem" and each of you bring a bottle.  

I have a similar dilemma as I also have several wines in my cellar for special occasions.  What I do instead is just use occasions, even if they're not all that special.  So long as there are other people there that appreciate good wine it's worth it.  

I don't have anything as mature as you mention.  In 1995, when you bought that bottle of Margaux, I wasn't even old enough to buy wine or anything else with alcohol in it for that matter.  The oldest bottle I have is a '97 Girard that I bought in 2005.  After that, I've got several wines from 2001 - 2003.  Every time I go to the cellar to find a new bottle though, I have the same thought you have.  Maybe I should just crack open that 2001 Gran Reserva Rioja, then I realize I'd be drinking it alone and opt for something from 2009.  

So far this summer I have managed to crack open a few of my "special" bottles.  I went to a friend's place on the 4th of July and there were probably 30 people there.  I brought a 2005 Stag's Leap Artemis and a 2003 Spinifex Shiraz.  Both went over quite well and I don't even feel guilty that they're gone because everyone that got to try some enjoyed them very much.

Reply by Anna Savino, Jul 19, 2012.

go for it! maybe just try to replenish the cellar by buying another special bottle soon after.. maybe that will make you feel better and keep your cellar full!:)

Reply by jtryka, Jul 19, 2012.

These are all wonderful ideas, though I can't be expected to jump headfirst into the deep end of the pool!  Maybe I'll start off with something I've only had for a decade instead of 20 years, though I could see this evolving.  One thought I had was to make one day a month, special bottle day on my wine blog, so maybe the first Saturday of the month I open something that was a great/expensive bottle, or a bottle I've had in the cellar for a while.  That might provide a year or two of blog posts, but it would also launch me on a mission to find more great bottles to rotate into the cellar.  It might be like my own personal "open that bottle night," but monthly instead of annually.

Reply by GregT, Jul 19, 2012.

Onin - that 2001 Rioja, depending on what it is and how it's been stored, is fine stuff but it's not aged near what it can be. Why not hold it for the 15 year mark? It will be the first wine you've aged yourself. And FYI - you could do a lot worse than replace it with a 2009 version - that's another year you might want to stock up on when the wines are released.  If you have the space or capacity, pick up some good 2009s and plan to drink them the rest of your life. No matter what they are, they will be FAR more affordable than the Margaux!  Cheers.

Reply by shsim, Jul 19, 2012.

Definitely agree with most here, especially EMark. The nice bottles (not many) are usually saved for special occasion. And to me, it is especially limited as I dont purchase anything more than $50 or have anything beyond 2005. So it is always great to see people bringing up older vintages and sharing their notes! I am looking forward to what you think about those wines!

Shucks, if I had more, creating occasions sounds like a fun way to do to enjoy some good wine with friends and family! Call it family weekend and have it every year! Family is always worth celebrating! 

Reply by jtryka, Jul 20, 2012.

Well, today was cause for celebration as I was promoted at work.  Of course I couldn't go to crazy, but at least I opened an '05 Chateauneuf-du-Pape!  Here's my review:

Reply by EMark, Jul 20, 2012.

Congratulations on the promotion, Bud. 

I enjoyed reading your review, although, I don't think that a grilled tenerloin would have detracted.  My mouth was watering when I read that suggestion.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Jul 20, 2012.

Okay, GregT, I'm likely to be in your neck of the woods in November. Invite me over, for cryin' out loud. We'll kill some CdP, a few of your amazing Spanish bottles, and you'll be much happier. So will I for doing you this big favor. ;-)

jtryka, any time you have folks over is a special occasion.  I made friends with my kids' classmates parents.  Some are into wine.  We buy bottles and cases together, make up verticals, do blind tastings, whatever.  My old friend loaned me his European ATM card (he lived in Rotterdam and Paris for a year each and keeps an account), giving me instant cred when I went to the continent this summer. (Speaking a few languages and having a local account will do that.)  I brought him back a cheese, and he's coming over on Sunday to get it.  Occasion enough to open a good bottle or three.  (He always--always!--starts with sparkling and then we kill two more with dinner.) Tonight was post-jetlag Friday-- that's an occasion.  Drank a Talty Zinfandel (Snooth's winery of the year) just because.

I strongly feel that most folks on CellarTracker are drinking their stuff too young, but if it's reached its window, drink it!  I am not leaving my best stuff to my grandkids.  Don't be afraid to buy Ghemme or Barbaresco that matures early enough to enjoy in your own lifetime and drink it.  Or, buy an older wine from a reputable house like Hart Davis Hart or BPWines and drink it now.  As my friend said as he transferred money to his ATM card for me, "Life is short."

Reply by GregT, Jul 21, 2012.

Fox - of course you're welcome.  Let me know the dates. As long as I'm in town, we're good.  Not sure what I'll be doing for Thanksgiving - Mom's 91 so I may be out there - don't know. But no plans at the moment for anything else.

Reply by cgplayer9, Jul 21, 2012.

Today is National Junk Food day (seriously - look it up). Buy some junk food, open the Chateau Margaux and watch the movie Sideways. 

Reply by JonDerry, Jul 21, 2012.

This is precisely why it's important to try and make some local wine friends or contacts. A lot of times while collecting we realize we don't have enough occasions for these prizes, so we must create them. 

Fox, GT:I'll be in Rhode Island for a wedding come November 4th, and might have the Friday before open.

Reply by lingprof, Jul 24, 2012.

Not to be a downer, but I've known of two people under the age of 40 who were diagnosed with serious/terminal illnesses just this past week.  You're likely to live to a ripe old age, statistically, but maybe reminding yourself that there's no guarantee (and celebrating your current good health) is worth it.  I personally think "I'm healthy, I have friends and family who love me, and I have a job" could seem like a pretty special occasion if you stop and really look at it.


Reply by Calamus, Jul 24, 2012.

Hi there!

I am of the Carpe Diem persuasion too! 

 I don't think you need an occasion to do anything in this life because we have no promises about tomorrow. My grandmother was saving a sweater for events. What? I don't keep anything for an event. I will admit to only recently being able to cellar a bottle or many bottles for later. I got to that point by tasting wines in different stages of maturity. Otherwise, no occasion needed.

Enjoy away!


Reply by GregT, Jul 24, 2012.

Lingprof - you nailed it. And I'm sorry about your friends.

Jon - so you know how to get in touch. As we get closer, let's see if we can work something out!


Reply by Craig Bilodeau, Jul 24, 2012.

Man!  With all this Carpe Diem talk, I am getting awfully thirsty!

Reply by jtryka, Aug 6, 2012.

Well, I decided to implement "Cellar Saturday" on the first Saturday of each month, so it will give me a firm excuse to open a good bottle that was otherwise sitting around collecting dust.  So last Saturday it was a '96 Pomerol, nothing too crazy, but a bottle I never would have opened without this impetus.  At any rate, I'll post a review on my blog, so even if you don't happen to be around me when I open a bottle, you can still enjoy it vicariously!


Oh, and here's a link to the first one:

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