Open That Bottle Night 2010

March 6, 2010

This has become one of our favorite nights of the year. Seriously, we think it should be made a national holiday. If you’re a wine lover, what could be better than getting together with some of your favorite people, having a great meal, and sharing some amazing wines? Nothing, right?

Most of you who know us also know about Open That Bottle Night (OTBN). It was started in 2000 by the wine writers for the Wall Street Journal, Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher (for an interview with Dottie and John on the origins and evolution of OTBN follow this link http://palatepress.com/2010/02/dottie-and-john-on-open-that-bottle-night/). In short, they learned that people were holding wine that had become so dear to them that it was almost impossible to find a reason special enought to drink it. So, they created a night, originally in September, now held the last Saturday in February, designated as the night to open whatever bottle of wine you can never seem to find a reason to drink.

Donna and I have celebrated many (if not all) of these over the years, with family and friends. We knew that when we started our own winery, OTBN would become one of our flagship event. On Saturday, February 27th, we held our third annual Open That Bottle Night for Winderlea. It was an amazing night with temperatures in the high fifties with blue skies, cherry trees and daffodils in bloom, and, when the sun went down, a full moon (known as The Hunger Moon according to our friend, David Beck). It was glorious (note to all our east coast friends – this is Oregon winter).

We had a delicious four course meal created by chef Jason Stoller Smith of the Dundee Bistro (Jason does his thing at the Bistro, a wine country institution, but he really shows his creativity at private wine dinners). Sadly, Jason’s grandmother passed away and he had to go to Utah, but his sous chef of nine years, Chris Flanagan, executed his plan perfectly. The food and the service were wonderful. The menu and wine pairings are below.

We use OTBN as an opportunity to pour our new vintage each year and it’s a treat for us to do so, but honestly, the fun really begins once our guests start opening the wines they’ve brought. This year they really outdid themselves and shared some stunning wines. The list is below.

Donna did a fantastic job as MC and really kept the festivities moving. Ingeniously creating some competition with prizes, she actually managed to get all the guests to write down their stories for us. Each table selected their best story and the winners shared the tale of their precious wine with the room. The grand prize winner, and recipient of a magnum of the 2007 Winderlea Vineyard (Estate) Pinot noir, were Jim and Karen Halliday. Jim is a gifted story teller who told a wonderfully romantic story about the wine he and Karen brought with them.

Our winemaker, Robert Brittan, generously agreed to talk about the 2008 vintage and our wines. Given the high percentage of wine geeks in the room, this was a real treat. Robert is not only one of the most knowledgable winemakers/viticulturalists you’ll ever meet but he’s also very eloquent and charming. I love our wines but I always appreciate them even more after listening to Robert talk about them. I think you all know this, but if you don’t, Robert has his own label, Brittan Vineyards, and his estate wines are gorgeous (Robert produces two wines each vintage and Portland Monthly Magazine put them both in the top thirty in Oregon this past year – out of more then 600 tasted). www.brittanvineyards.com

OK, so here’s the list of wines people brought in order of their arrival:

2000 Rene Leclerc Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux St Jacques
1995 Caymus Special Select Cabernet Sauvignon
2006 St Innocent Shea Vineyard Pinot noir
1946 Albert Pochon Hospice de Beaune Cuvee Guigone de Salins
1989 Elk Cove Vineyards Dundee Hills Vineyards Pinot noir (original name of Winderlea)
2005 Fidelitas Optu Red Wine Columbia Valley
1994 Stags’ Leap Winery Merlot
1991 Quichotte Cabernet Sauvignon
2003 Chateau de la Gardine Chateauneuf du Pape
1961 Lynch Bages Grand Cru Classe Pauillac Medoc
1996 Stags’ Leap Winery Cabernet Sauvignon
1995 Cascina Bongiovanni Barolo Pernanno
1999 Cristom Louise Pinot noir
2005 Sedouce Harris Bridge Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot nori dessert wine
2005 Abeja Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley
1993 Hafner Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley
2006 Cobos Bramare Malbec Lujon de Cuyo
2002 Cakebread Rubaiyat Red Wine
2004 Pine Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District
2004 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits Saint Georges La Perriere (white pinot noir)

Not a bad list, eh?

And here is the menu created by chef Jason Stoller Smith and brilliantly prepared by chef Chris Flanagan.
Appetizers
Chilled Curried Onion Veloute with Pink Lady Apples
Smoked Trout with Radishes in Crispy Parmigiano Cup
Golden Beet Tapenade Crouton with Fra Mani Salametto
Paired with 2008 Winderlea Chardonnay

1st Course
Applewood Bacon Wrapped Sturgeon with Razor & Manilla Clams,
Tomato Broth, Fingerling Potatoes, and Crispy Fried Onions
Paired with 2008 Winderlea Ana Pinot noir

Entree
Pinot noir Braised Short Rib with Torchon of Foie Gras,
Parsnip Puree, Braised Celery, truffle Bordelaise, Gremolata
Paired with 2008 Winderlea Vineyard Pinot noir

Cheese Course
Ancient Heritage Dairy “Adelle” Oregon Sheeps Milk Cheese
5 Years Aged Prosciutto Riserva
Pickled Mustard Seed Grisini
Paired with 2008 Winderlea Dundee Hills Vineyards Pinot noir

Truffles & Coffee

Thank you so much to our incredible guests. The wine was astonishing, the food exquisite, but it’s the people that make the party.

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