2012 Open That Bottle Night at Winderlea

March 13, 2012

Open That Bottle Night – 2012

“Oh What a Night….”
Once again, the last Saturday in February, Open That Bottle Night (OTBN) proved to be one of the most memorable nights of the year. A change in venue to the Portland Art Museum proved a delightful way to start the evening. Guests were treated to a private tour of the newly opened Rothko Exhibit before settling in for a night of memories, sharing and tasting some truly remarkable wines.

2012 was the first year where no wines were flawed. There was not a corked or bad wine among the 26 bottles opened; a first in our history of the event. Quite an accomplishment considering one of our guests shared a 1927 Rivesaltes Domaine Bory dessert wine from the Languedoc-Roussillon. We are happy to report that a 1967 Bertani Amarone was still young and alive and a 1978 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon blew us all away. And it wasn’t just the old wines that surprised and delighted us. Everyone chose well those younger wines they brought to share including a 2006 Leonetti Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon; a 2006 Panther Creek Cellars Freedom Hill Vineyard Magnum; a 2007 Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon Magnum and a powerful yet elegant 2009 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon.

Before we share the stories, let us share all of the wines that were opened.

1927 Rivesaltes Domaine Bory
1978 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon
1967 Bertani Amarone
1978 Diamond Creek, Volcanic Hill, Cabernet Sauvignon
1979 Heitz Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon
1987 Elk Cove, Dundee Hills Vineyard, Pinot noir
1988 Rex Hill, Archibald Vineyard, Pinot noir
1989 Stags’ Leap Petite Syrah
1990 Rombauer Vineyards, Napa Valley, Cabernet Franc
1995 Marchesi di Gresy Barbaresco Camp Gros Martinengo
2000 Stags’ Leap, Estate Grown Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon
2000 St Aubin Premier Cru, En remilly
2001 Ken Wright, Meredith-Mitchell Vineyard, Pinot noir
2001 Domaine Des Relagnes Chateauneuf du Pape
2002 Lemelson Vineyards, Theo Selection, Pinot noir
2003 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Barolo
2005 Duckhorn, Patzimaro Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon
2005 Rombauer, Fiddletown, Zinfandel
2006 Leonetti Cabernet Sauvignon
2006 Panther Creek, Freedom Hill, Pinot noir (Magnum)
2006 Chateau St. Jean, Eighty Five-Fifty Five, Red Wine
2006 Black Cap Pinot noir
2007 Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon (Magnum)
2007 Stoller, SV, Pinot noir
2009 Descendientes de Jose Palacios “Petalos de Bierzo” Bierzo
2009 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon

If you haven’t experienced OTBN with us, let me tell you what we do. The owner of each wine takes the wine to their table of 6 to 8 guests. Throughout dinner, each bottle is opened and the wine and the story of the wine is shared by its owner. Each table decides on the most compelling story behind the wine, and the owner of that wine is asked to share their story with all of our guests. The teller of the most compelling “table” story receives a bottle of Winderlea Pinot noir and the teller of the most compelling story overall receives a Magnum of Winderlea Pinot noir.

The story telling gets more interesting as the night progresses. We are very specific that the story must be compelling, we do not have fact checkers establishing the minute accuracy of each account!

Let me share the 6 most compelling table stories with you.

We start with the providence of the 1978 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon. This bottle was shared by Jason Moore and Minami Yamaguchi. Jason is a professional musician and guitar teacher. Jason took on the responsibility of providing guitar lessons to a talented youth whose father did not have the financial means to pay for his son’s lessons in cash. The Dad, who no longer drinks, learned of Jason’s love of fine wine and offered to exchange Jason his last “treasured bottle” of 1978 Diamond Creek for his son’s lessons. We all agreed, it was a wonderful exchange.

Susan Meredith and Frank Mitchell shared the last bottle, they ever plan to open of the couple they have remaining, of their 2001 Ken Wright Cellars, Meredith Mitchell Vineyards, Pinot noir. Susan and Frank are the owners of the famed Meredith-Mitchell Vineyard which they still personally farm. The 2001 Ken Wright Cellars they opened is the first commercial vineyard designated wine produced from their vineyard. Everything they had worked so hard for in the years since they purchased the vineyard in 1990, rested on the success of this one wine. It was a smashing success then, upon its release, and it is still just stunning.

Reid Oliver, Winderlea’s Tasting Room Manager had the most compelling story at his table and this is what he shared with us about the 2006 Leonetti Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon. Reid started collecting wine in college (only a few years back), spending most of his paychecks on wine at the Bellevue Market in McMinnville. He and his now fiancée, Suzanne, built a fine cellar of about 100 cherished bottles. During the summer of 2010 – on a warm summer night when he left street level windows to his house open – bandits entered, snuck into his basement cellar and walked off with the bulk of their treasured collection. Somehow, they left behind this very fine bottle of Leonetti – which proudly demonstrated the quality of what Reid and Suzanne had collected over the years. The wine was sublime – but the story comes with valuable lessons for all of us collectors. First, know what is in your cellar. Reid and Suzanne had not kept an electronic inventory of their wines. They now keep everything on Cellar Tracker. But the real lesson for all of us is to “drink the good ones more frequently.” Thank you Reid and Suzanne for the wine and for the lessons.

Sam Sirkin, a classmate of Bill’s from Bates College, and his wife Erin shared the gorgeous 2003 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Barolo they seemingly smuggled out of Italy. It seems Luigi Einaudi’s son Luigi was Sam’s neighbor in Washington, DC in the 70s. Sam, Erin and their two young sons visited Luigi Jr on his family estate and purchased the bottle there in 2007. Sam shared that Luigi Einaudi Sr. was the first president of Italy after WWII and the first President of the Republic of Italy. His son, Luigi Jr, was the US Ambassador to the Organization of the American States. This family represents the Patricians of Dolgiani and their home estate one of the grandest. What made us all giggle was the way this very grand wine was transported out of Italy. It was unceremoniously wrapped in dirty laundry and tucked into their young son’s back- pack for its journey to America – and to our very thankful glasses on OTBN.

Jeanne and David Beck (and owners of the Crawford-Beck Vineyard) shared a 1995 Marchesi di Gresy Barbaresco Camp Gros Martinengo with us at OTBN. It is a wonderful story that begins when David and Jeanne felt compelled to accompany their daughter and new husband on their honeymoon to Piedmont Italy in 1999. Their daughter married a chef and they spent leisurely days having cooking lessons in the morning – tasting sessions in the afternoon – and then a pairing of both for dinner. Their most memorable day of the “honeymoon” was July 3rd 1999 spending the morning learning to make agnolotti and the afternoon having the amazing good fortune of visiting Marchesi de Gresy and spending the afternoon with their New Zealand winemaker who provided them with a private tasting through the cellar. The pairing of the ’95 Barbaresco with the angolotti was a highlight of the trip. The bottle of wine shared by the Beck’s brings back the happiest moments of a legendary trip.

And finally, Liane and Rich Cabot who brought a cherished 2001 Domaine Des Relagnes Chateauneuf du Pape purchased on their honeymoon as they traveled throughout Europe shared the story that brought the house down. The details of the telling were marvelous as they squirreled bottle after bottle away in luggage and carriers as they made their way from country to country, past border guards and sentries and secretly accumulated and safely transported 2 cases of wine back into the US only to have a porter at Newark Airport drop a piece of their cargo with their precious possessions – leaving them this 1 bottle of wine. Tears of laughter, joy and sorrow were shed by us all, along with many thanks for sharing this most special bottle with those of us at OTBN.

So, there you have it. Open That Bottle Night 2012 was a magnificent evening of food, wine, storytelling and friendship. In case you’re wondering what we poured from Winderlea – we introduced some of our 2010 vintage, including our:
2010 Winderlea Chardonnay
2010 Winderlea Vineyard Pinot noir
2010 Winderlea Legacy Pinot noir
and from the Winderlea Library
1987 Elk Cove “Dundee Hills Vineyard” Pinot noir
1988 Rex Hill “Archibald” Pinot noir

We hope these bottles will become part of your stories one day.

Until next February 23rd, 2013, always remember to “drink the good ones more frequently.”

Your hosts,
Bill & Donna

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