Wine Talk

Snooth User: jtryka

Opening a great bottle just for the fun of it?

Original post 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!


Reply by GregT, Aug 6, 2012.

Just make sure that in addition to the virtual people, you have some real people around too! Nothing worse than sitting there enjoying a bottle that you know would have been great with some company!  Good idea to do the Saturday thing.  Cheers.


Reply by jamessulis, Aug 6, 2012.

My wife gave me a bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothchild a long time ago. I loved having the bottle and making sure it gathered no dust. I thought, someday I'll drink it and enjoy one of the finest wines in the world. To make a story short, one day, I grabbed the bottle, and the wife and went across the street to our neighbors house. Upon entering their house I told them that we were here to share our bottle of wine. I opened it, we drank and loved it. I have never tasted something so wonderful. I believe it's not necessary to plan and create a special occasion for your wine jewels. Why not do it on the spur of things. Wait until someone comes over, bring it to a neighbor, open it on a night when you feel special and enjoy and relish yourself and the ability you had to obtain such prizes in life!

Lefty - The Great Pacific Northwest

Reply by EMark, Aug 6, 2012.

That is an awesome story, Lefty.

Where do you live?  I know you're in the Great Pacific Northwest, but I want to know what street.  I will then look for houses across from you and move in.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 7, 2012.

EMark, you have the time to inhabit many homes, but you gotta have one heck of a retirement fund to move in across from Lefty and start hanging out in Napa, too!  But carpe diem indeed.

All of these points are so well taken.  Those of us who work, own homes, are active in our communities, raise our children, need to remember that we do all this to make the world a better place, to be a bit corny.  We need to remember to not just share our gifts, but to share our joy.  You can't share joy unless you're having some yourself.  If you don't know anyone who has said they are into wine, invite some people over who haven't expressed it but aren't obviously abstainers. I have prefaced many of my thinly-veiled wine events with apologies, but it wasn't long before people started asking, "Are we going to do some tasting soon?"  Before you know it, they are into wine and asking where they should shop. 

Selfishly, as they drink better wine (including yours), the wines they bring to your house get better.  That's what I call a win for everybody.

Reply by EMark, Aug 7, 2012.

One of GDP's better articles (6-7 months ago?) was about paying it forward--sharing with others.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Aug 7, 2012.

And I'm ready to do it again!

Reply by jamessulis, Aug 7, 2012.

EMARK, lol............if the old guy across the street moves, I'll send you the listing. I strongly agree with FOXALL, and FOX, it's not even the slightest bit corny. People need to share, to love and to have happy times as we never know what tomorrow will bring us. Being a member of Snooth has brought me much happiness learning about something I am so fond of (Wine) and of course people. From the time I became a member and started to throw out subtle facts on wine, some of my friends now actually value my opinion and that is also sharing. If they like what I recommend, I am happy. One further note, sometimes my friends bring wine over or give wine as gifts for birthdays, father's day, holidays and when they do, I compliment them by sending a email link to Snooth to see for themselves how I rated their wine (hopefully they like my review). I remember one in particular, a wine given to me from a friend was rated by me highly and as a note in my rating I mentioned that the wine she gave me had a flavor deeper than Grandma's well and that it was Winederful. By doing this, the giver is rewarded with the thoughtfullness of getting a link to Snooth showing how much their gift was appreciated.

Lefty - The Great Pacific Northwest

Reply by Erica Landin, Aug 8, 2012.

Oh, I agree with a whole bunch of you! I feel the bottle can be the occasion, and I more and more decide that good friends popping over constitutes a good occasion for a special wine. But of course, sometimes it's hard and for example my birthyear champagnes are saved for I-dont-know-when. I'm afraid that an occasion big enough to warrant drinking them, such as me getting married or having kids or turning 40 (many years away luckily) will be so big it eclipses the bottle! Wouldn't want that...

Perhaps the best idea was the one presented a few times above - to get a few wine lovers together where everyone brings an excellent bottle with an interesting story and makes an evening out of it. Shared joy.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 8, 2012.

Erica, you say turning 40 likes it's a bad thing.  I'd happily turn 40 again. ;-)



Reply by Erica Landin, Aug 9, 2012.

Hehe, no of COURSE not! Though let's be honest, by the time I'm 40 there will be very few wines from my birth year still worth drinking! :)


Reply by jtryka, Aug 12, 2012.

You guys crack me up sometimes, and yes, I'll try to enjoy these wines with people, after all I don't live in my cellar!  One of the interesting things I've seen is that the younger folks (by that I mean early to mid-20s) seem to be starving for culture, whether that means leaning more about cooking and enjoying different foods, or learning about wine and what makes a good wine vs. a boxed wine, or why "slap the bag" may not be the best way to appreciate wine!

So about a year ago, I started to do some small, informal tastings with work colleagues and friends, where all the guests pitch in a nominal amount, usually $10-20 to cover the cost of the wine and we explore a particular set of wines.  I don't really need to have them reimburse me, but I find that somehow people appreciate more what they are tasting if they put some of their own cash down to enjoy it (sort of like the tasting fees at wineries), and of course I've yet to breakeven on one of these events, but it's worth it to have some fun and share the joy of good wine with others.

I still have 2 more tastings on tap for this summer, if I can ever get the timing right, the first is a white wine tasting of all the different white wines from my favorite winery, L'Ecole No, 41.  I bought bottles of their current vintages of Luminesce (2/3 Semillon, 1/3 Sauv Blanc), Semillon, Chardonay, Chenin Blanc and Grenache Rose.  This is just as much a lesson for me as well since I am a total ignoramus when it comes to white wines.  The second will be a taste of my summer vacation, as I picked up a number of wines from Walla Walla, but also some from the Snake River Valley in Idaho, some from Montana, and a Norton Blend from Missouri, all from my road trip from Michigan to Washington.

I just find doing stuff like this really helps expand and deepen friendships and opens people up to new tastes and experiences that they might not otherwise have.  Plus it's a great opportunity to open up some great bottles to share, which is what this thread was all about!

Reply by napagirl68, Aug 13, 2012.

Personally, I love to share.  I probably over-share! LOL!   The best way to enjoy good wine, IMO, is to get a group of people who love wine, like wine, or want to learn about wine together (preferably a mix of that crowd). 

One idea is to have everyone bring a bottle, and serve up some wine-friendly, easy to prepare or buy foods.  That's the simplest way, and one that won't break the bank or force a certain varietal or price point on the attendees.  This is a great way to meet new people, taste new wines, and perhaps start a regular tasting party.  It sounds like you've done this before with folks.  My only thing is: if it is at my house or I am hosting, I wouldn't want to take money.  That is just my own feeling.  I would prefer someone to bring food or their own wine.

That said, if you have some really great wine that you just don't want to pour for the sake of pouring, do a special dinner, with courses specifically paired for each wine you've chosen. And keep the event more intimate.... say 4-6 guests or so.   I do this and LOVE doing this.  I spend hours researching a specific wine and its perfect pairings, then I add my own intuition into the mix.  I pour over recipes and tweak them to my liking.   Sometimes I will pick a course or dinner,  and then choose 2 or 3 wines that should pair well, and have my guests blind taste.  this is the MOST fun for me... I love seeing people that would never order a Chenin Blanc chose that wine as the best in pairing!  It is so interesting and entertaining, and everyone seems to love this element of surprise.

Most of my wines are in the $20-80 price point.  Not extravagant by any means, but open 6 of these and it can get pricey.  About 1/3 of my modest cellar is in the $100-300 price point.  Do I pull these out for these tastings?  Of course I do, but I do so judiciously.

Reply by jtryka, Sep 2, 2012.

Well, yesterday I posted my second "Cellar Saturday" this time a 2001 Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, a wonderful, mature bordeaux, though still young!  LOL  Fortunately I recorded this one a couple weeks ago, since yesterday I felt terrible!  In any case, enjoy on my behalf...

Reply by zufrieden, Sep 2, 2012.

This was a great little post that I somehow missed while out of the country in July. There is one small inconsistency in the main argument that may have escaped notice, though: all this talk of Carpe Diem is at odds with the collecting obsession that engendered the urgency of seizing the day in the first place.

If collecting is the main source of satisfaction, drinking a wine is very secondary to the hedonic heights of actually owning a wine. On the other hand, if an a-ha moment arrives (perhaps as it did in the case of this forum topic), then by all means, leverage off the years of cellaring and down those bottles of joy.

Wine collecting is a bit like stamp collecting with the exception that, unlike stamps, there is likely an optimal moment to either sell or consume.  You can't consume a stamp without first translating its value into cash.  But with wine, you just take the bottle off the shelf, open it and drink.

And by the way, drink those 20 year old wines with a good conscience.  As was pointed out earlier, these bottles may disappoint, or they may not.  But do put the contents to good use by filtering them through your digestive tract and perhaps those of a few of your friends.


Reply by jtryka, Oct 7, 2012.

Posted my third yesterday, opened up a 2001 Walla Walla Cab Sauv from L'Ecole No. 41, and it was well worth it!

Reply by GregT, Oct 7, 2012.

jtryka - you have the right idea. Some friends called last Friday to see if I'd like to go to dinner. Sure, why not?  BYO place.  I brought a 99 Dunn, thinking that it would go with lamb chops, but when I got there, they had a 1970 Rioja that I'd never heard of and a 76 RdD and a few Madeiras.  We never got to the Dunn.

I can't compete so shouldn't try, but the idea was exactly as you say - it's Friday, I have a new corkscrew, let's try it out.

I got to know some neighbors recently and it turns out they like wine. I have space so we decided to get together for a potluck.  I saw them in the afternoon and they said they were going to buy some wine.


I gently suggested that they please don't.  When they came over later, we started with a Gigondas and they liked it so we stayed with the GSM concept and had a few - Aussies and CdPs.

No special occasion, but company was over and what the hell.

Reply by EMark, Oct 8, 2012.

Thank you for sharing, JT.  I am looking forward to next month's event.

Reply by JonDerry, Oct 9, 2012.

Might have to see what I have at home tonight for a "create an occasion" of my bigger clients finally came clean and paid all their past due's today. Nice!

Reply by Richard Foxall, Oct 9, 2012.

Now that's a reason to celebrate, JD!  Of course, I would celebrate finding money in the couch cushions, or receiving my latest issue of the New Yorker. That's what I love about Shabbat:  An occasion to look forward to every week.  And the wine is mandatory.  No wonder monotheism caught on. Can't be the ritual surgery or the removal of shellfish and pork from the diet.

GregT, I have that same problem with people wanting to bring over wine when what I really want to do is get into a few of my bottles at the same time, which is something a person like me needs help with.  And if they bring over a wine that's IMO just too young to open--really, that '09 cab is just so young it would be wrong!--it becomes an even bigger problem.  But I have just learned that the gracious thing to do is open it anyway.  Unless, of course, I can convince them that we will put a sticky note on it, stick it in the cellar next to the Dunns, Bells, Huets, Roars and Rameys that are also too young and, since we are going to be lifelong friends, drink it at its peak in a few years. 

Reply by jtryka, Nov 3, 2012.

It's that time again!  Here is my fourth "Cellar Saturday" a nice Brunello from a controversial vintage!

What are you enjoying tonight?

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