Tonight marks the fourteenth annual Open That Bottle Night, the truly original wine holiday created by Dottie Gaiter and John Brecher. What will you be drinking tonight and why? Perhaps even more important, with whom will you be sharing it? Tell us about your own Open That Bottle Night, and come back this evening, at 8 p.m. Eastern. Dottie will be hosting Open That Bottle Night in Palate Press.

OTBN was created by Dottie and John in response to the question often posed to them, “when should we open that special bottle of wine?” Sometimes it was something valuable, perhaps a great older vintage. Sometimes it was something invaluable, a gift from a departed loved one, a vintage from a special anniversary. The answer was always “now, with the people who make it special.” They created OTBN as an international celebration, a day for everybody to trek to the cellar, the box in the back of the closet, or the dusty cabinet, right there behind the Tupperware, to pluck that special bottle from its dusty resting place. Since Dottie and John agreed to share OTBN with Palate Press, we’ve heard from wine lovers from Antarctica to Australia, from intimate sharing of spouses, to grand charitable events. They all had two things in common- love of wine and love of each other. So please join us again this year for the thirteenth annual Open That Bottle Night. We want to hear your stories.


31 Responses

  1. Gilberto Bravo

    Hi Dorothy & John,
    We are getting ready for tonight’s 14th anniversary of OTBN at Proprietor’s Reserve Wine Bar in San Diego, Ca.

    We are San Diego’s most intimate wine bar located in the neighborhood of Normal Heights.

    I’m looking forward to a great night with our most loyal clients. I’m sure we’ll have plenty of great wine and memories to go around. I’ll make sure to forward a few pictures of the event.

    Thanks for such a great idea. Our customers are so excited to partake and celebrate with their most prized bottles.

    Gilberto Bravo
    Wine Specialist
    Proprietor’s Reserve Wine Bar
    4711 34th Street
    San Diego, Ca 92116

  2. Jim Thacker

    1990 Guigal Hermitage here. Remarkably fresh for a 22 year old wine. Lots of fruit and earth and amazing balance. Full flavored and almost elegant. Braised short ribs and sauteed polenta rounds are a perfect match. Wonderful wine and we have half a bottle to go.

  3. dorothy gaiter

    Hi folks,
    Thanks for joining us here. For our Open That Bottle Night we’re having a Dry Creek Vineyard Petite Sirah from 1973, the year we met. It was also among the first red wines the winery made. I made lamb shank, also a first!

  4. Becky Sue Epstein

    In the mid 1990s we got a mixed case of Napa red wines shipped to us during during a UPS summertime strike. I put the box in the basement, marking it “Very Good or Past It.”
    Every so often we look at it. Tonight we opened a bottle: 1989 St. Supery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from Dollarhide Ranch.
    On the back, the winery claimed: “Wonderful to drink now, it will age well.”
    They were right.

  5. Becky Sue Epstein

    1989 St. Supery Cabernet Sauvignon Dollarhide Ranch, cont. Though the bottle had been stored on its side, the cork crumbled to bits as we opened it. Tasted immediately, plummy fruit blossomed then morphed into persistent dried plums. Fully integrated tannins actually still dry out the mouth.
    An hour after opening, the plummy fruit is re-appearing…

  6. dorothy gaiter

    We opened our wine at 7:10 and the cork was sound. The wine was light and at first had very little nose. The taste was light also, like a very old Burgundy. And in the time since we pulled the cork, the wine has gotten darker and richer and the fruit richer. An amazing bottle. John even detected a hint of mint and I thought I sensed a little chocolate.

  7. Mike Veseth

    It’s still early here on the west coast — nine of us are going to gather in about an hour for what promises to be a spectacular celebration of OTBN — a five course meal with about about a dozen wines including some special bottles, of course. Happy OTBN everyone!

  8. Gina Miller

    Keep calm and Cowboy up!

    In Oklahoma we have black gold in the ground and liquid gold on the table – ’04 Silver Oak.

    Local OK strip steaks with Cowboy Rub, grilled yellow peppers, steamed green beans, sautéed mushrooms with kosher salt and homegrown rosemary, baked oven fries and our favorite wine – ’04 Alexander Valley Silver Oak!

    We fell in love over a few bottles of Silver Oak and we find it is still delicious and romantic!

    Cheers and Yippee kay yay

    Ed and Gina Miller
    Tulsa, Oklahoma

  9. dorothy gaiter

    Gilberto, if we lived in San Diego, we’d live at your place.
    I hope your customers know how lucky they are!
    Jim, our dinners were similar. We had orzo with our lamb shanks and our wine has at times seemed a lot younger than its 40 years. We’re so happy to hear that the St. Supery held up. That’s a fun winery to visit, too, especially with kids. They actually handed out coloring books years ago.

  10. Melanie & Doug

    We opened a magnum of Keller Estate 2005 La Cruz Vineyard Chardonnay. On a trip to Sonoma we stopped in the winery for the harvest festival. At the sign-in desk, there were stacks of bins with grapes. If you guessed the weight of the grapes correctly, you got a prize.

    This is my kind of game. I proudly declared to Doug that I was going to win. He laughed and said, “You’re never going to win.” I said, “Watch me.”

    I put in my guess and he put in his.

    A few weeks later, I got an email from Keller asking me to confirm my mailing address. I’d won the guessing game. And then I enjoyed several weeks of reminding Doug that I told him I was going to win.

    The grapes in this bottle were harvested right around the time of our wedding in 2005, so it’s special in that respect and now is a nice time to celebrate our time together and our son. I’m happy to report that the wine is in good shape and will be very tasty with our roast chicken. If I have one tasting note it’s that the wine is as delicious as saying, “I told you so.”

  11. dorothy gaiter

    Doug,Doug,Doug. Give up, man. Game over. Looking back on 40 years, I suggest you just enjoy this wild ride. That’s a very special talent, guessing the weight of grapes. Just don’t fight it anymore. Girls rule! Our wine is still wonderful but not changing as rapidly as it did in its first hour. Isn’t this fun?

  12. DJ Silverberg

    For this OTBN, I picked out the last of the 1996 Caldwell Aida Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from the cellar. This had been one of our favorites when we first tasted it at one of our local wine shops, a dark, brooding fruit-driven beast of a wine that would stain glasses and decanters.

    A good dozen years have passed, and the wine is still powerful. The deep purple has faded to garnet and brick, and the wine is currently on the cusp between primary fruit and secondary characteristics, so we get a melange of cherry, currant, tobacco, and leather. We cooked some homemade pizzas with carmelized onions, wilted mustard greens, shredded chicken, and a mixture of fontina, mozzarella, and asiago.

    A wonderful evening of food, wine and memories.



  13. Tracy Roudebush

    We opened a Henri Goutorbe Special Club Cuvee 2002, purchased at our favorite wine shop–Wines by Jennifer in Parkville, MO. I am slowing sipping the last glass and it is amazing. We also open a Chateau d’Aussieres from the Cellar Club we belong to. It’s developing nicely and I look forward to drinking it over the course of the evening.

  14. bacongirl

    We opened a 2004 Chateau Fombrauge cuvee Le Cadran, a Saint Emilion we purchased on our first trip to Bordeaux. We paired it with 1 of our favorite dishes, baked ribs and a side of garlic sauteed kale. Cheers!

  15. dorothy gaiter

    I can almost taste that cab. The sweet carmelized onions and mustard greens must be especially wonderful with it. Our wine had brick edges that grew darker. The wine really seemed to become more youthful-looking, the longer it was open. We’ve seen that before and it’s always amazing. We have some faintly sweet fruit now, and a hint of John’s Dad’s fragrant pipe tobacco.

  16. Mike Murphy

    OTBN and my wife’s birthday! Lobster Thermidor with steamed green beans and a Kistler Dutton Ranch RRV Chardonnay 2002. Thinking of you and hoping you have as much fun as we do.

  17. dorothy gaiter

    I don’t know Parkville. I went to the University of Missouri at Columbia. John and I went back a couple years ago and found a thriving food and wine culture, including good wines from the state We like Nortons. I’m planning to cook ribs tomorrow for the Oscars. It’s a shame that we won’t have your wine. That sounds like a wonderful combination.

  18. dorothy gaiter

    Happy OTBN, Mike on the West Coast. And Mike, the husband of the Birthday girl, that sounds like quite a celebration. We love Kistlers and that one, from Dutton Ranch, with lobster? Oh my goodness.

    • Mike Murphy

      Insane Dorothy, it was insane. You told me before that old Chardonnay was a thing of beauty and we don’t drink them enough. True, so true. I would love if you held wine dinners for us who are your fans. I for one, would be there in a heartbeat. PS, I have a 2005 chateauneuf from clos des papes that I’m sitting on for an otbn well into the future. Best to you and yours.

  19. Tom Mansell

    It seems like I never think of a good occasion to open a sticky, so here we go.

    Heart and Hands Winery
    Late Harvest Riesling 2008

    From my former stomping grounds, the Finger Lakes region of New York. Pairing with some Indian takeout: Lamb jhalfrezi and chicken tikka. Sweet and spicy.

  20. dorothy gaiter

    Indian food and a late harvest wine. That sounds amazing. We’re going to have to try that. The Finger Lakes and Riesling, another great pairing.

  21. Tracy Roudebush

    Dottie—we are making ribs tomorrow as well. We are celebrating the 10th anniversary of our family’s return from Guatemala after adopting our daughter. The ribs are at her request. I’m thinking of opening a Calistoga Cellars Zinfandel with these. Might as well keep OTBN going for the whole weekend.

  22. David Honig
    David Honig

    Our apologies for commenting problems this evening for (of all nights) Open That Bottle Night. We’re working furiously on it now.

  23. David Honig
    David Honig

    Please let us know if you are having trouble posting comments in tonight’s OTBN thread with Dottie. Reach me at Thank you.

  24. dorothy gaiter

    Tracey, Congratulations on that very wonderful 10 year anniversary. I’m preparing ribs at our daughters’ request, too. Party on!

  25. Kaaren and Cris Sagastume

    Our first OTBN remembering both of Cris’s parents. We lost them within the last year and a half so we had a great dinner together reminiscing about happy memories about them. We made a filet tournadoes dinner wih garlic mashed potatoes. We had a Bordeaux called Bellevue Mondotte 2004. For dessert, creme brûlée with some Royal Tokaji (we have a dog who is descended from Hungary). Thank you for inventing OTBN – it is always a special celebration for us. Warm regards to you.

  26. Mike Veseth

    I thought you might be interested in the menu and wine list for our OTBN dinner last night. Try not to drool on your keyboard or tablet screen as you read this. (Note: I failed get the maker of the 1990 Riesling .)

    Hors d’oeuvres: Smoked chicken and dried apricot terrine with a lemon caper sauce / Smoked lamb loin with tarragon aioli served on toasted baguette / Pecorino cheese beignets with pink lady apple butter

    Gloria Ferrer Brut Sonoma
    First course: Smoked salmon rosette, lemon cream, crispy brioche, shaved fennel and arugula with citrus olive oil

    2010 Venge Vineyards Bacigalupi Vineyard Pinot Noir Russian River
    Second course: Seared jumbo scallop with forbidden rice, avocado poblano butter, and roast bell pepper foam

    2007 Joseph Drouhin Savigny Les Beaune “Talmettes” Premier Cru
    2008 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
    Third course: Sunchoke and cauliflower puree with coriander cream

    1990 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese, Mosel
    2008 Joseph Rosch Riesling Kabinett, Mosel
    Fourth course: Poached lobster tail, lemon beurre fondue, stewed leeks, and caramelized anise

    1996 Verget Puligny-Montrachet Les Enseigneres
    1996 Chavet-Chouet Puligny Montrachet Premier Cru
    Fifth course: Muscovy duck, braised red cabbage, roast pearl onions and bacon lardons, herb spätzle

    1982 Gloria St Julien, Bordeaux
    1998 Cuvee Vatican Chateauneuf du Pape
    2000 Le Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf du Pape
    All accompanied by Sue’s signature fresh-baked bread

    Dessert: Bonnie’s famous chocolate dacquoise

    2006 Cakebread Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
    Afters: Fantasy of Spanish almonds, Italian hazelnuts, Turkish figs and dried apricots

    2004 Dobogo Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos

  27. David Honig
    David Honig

    Thank you Dottie, for hosting Open That Bottle Night on Palate Press. It is a highlight of our year, and I know our readers and your fans look forward to it. Cheers!

  28. Stu Nudelman AKA Stu The Wine Guru

    I am often asked the age old question from my readers and listeners of my radio show:

    “Should I drink or save an expensive bottle of wine? ”

    One such occasion happened recently when a friend had done a business client a big favor, and was rewarded by that client with a $1000 bottle of wine. He asked me what he should do with the bottle. Here is my exchange. “You have seen $1000 before right?” “Yes of course” he said “You probably earned $1000 before right?” “Yes…Yes I have” he said. I then said “But how many $1000 bottles f wine have you drunk?” “None” he replied?”There is your answer” I told him. He drank it (Harlan Estate) and said it was one of the best experiences with wine he and his wife ever had.