Open That Bottle Night 2009

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

Here’s hoping each of you had a great OTBN – and in the spirit of the night, enjoyed a bottle of something that you had in your cellars or wine racks, just waiting for the right time to open it.

I know some people planned big celebrations – a number of my Snooth “friends” gathered at a restaurant in New York to celebrate OTBN and share each other’s wine treasures; I look forward to reading about the evening on the Snooth forum. Others opted for more low-key, casual celebrations with just a few friends. I was one of those in the latter category.
My Connecticut-wine-partner-in-crime, Christy Sherard, and I spent the evening at my house enjoying a casual dinner and sampling a few really nice wines. We had hoped to be joined by a couple other friends, but unfortunately they had some last minute family obligations and couldn’t make it.
The first wine we sampled was Rebel Girl, a white table wine made from Chilean Chardonnay grapes. I had actually opened the bottle a few days before, but there was enough left for each of us to have a glass. Those of you who are regular readers of Vino Verve may remember that this is the first vintage produced by our editor, Gretchen Neuman. I have to say I was impressed with this; and my apologies to Gretchen when I say for a first effort, I wasn’t expecting a lot and was VERY pleasantly surprised. More thoughts on Rebel Girl in an upcoming post…
We had planned a very leisurely and relaxed evening with a couple of hours of hanging out before we turned our thoughts to making dinner. So we started the evening with chips and guacamole and a bottle of the Biltmore Estate White Table Wine, which Christy had brought me from her home state of North Carolina. A semi-sweet white, it has strong notes of fruit and citrus, and a slight acidity which is really nice. There’s also a slightly sharp, not quite sour, bite to it at the beginning which is really interesting. The bite doesn’t linger; it hits you at the front and the wine mellows in the mouth. At first we thought it might be notes of tart apples, but it’s not really an apple flavor. Christy then suggested that it might be Muscadine, a grapevine berry that is often found in North Carolina wines, and which can be quite tart. More research is obviously required, but definitely a wine I’d be interested in trying again.
By this time, we’d started dinner and were ready to toss the steaks on the grill, so we turned to a red: Duckwalk‘s Gatsby Red from the Northfork of Long Island. Duckwalk has been one of my favorite wineries for years, ever since Kevin and Gretchen introduced me to it on a long-ago summer trip to Kevin’s parents’ house in Sag Harbor. I had bought this particular bottle of wine last summer when I and a friend visiting from Dallas spent one beautiful Saturday exploring the Long Island wine trail. The label describes the Gatsby as a Semi-Sweet Red, but the “sweetness” is very mild. This is a rich, smooth, beautiful wine. Deep red color, strong nose with nicely balanced notes of fruit, particularly cherry and blackberry. The wine is rich, full-bodied, and has a lovely softness in the mouth. You can detect notes of both cherry and blackberry, but neither is overpowering, and the tannins are nicely balanced. The slight sweetness balances out any oakiness or earthiness, making the wine just melt in the mouth, and it was perfect with the steaks. I can’t speak for Christy, but this was my favorite wine of the night. Apologies to Gretchen and Rebel Girl…

We’d love to hear from you regarding how you marked Open That Bottle Night. You can post comments through the link at the bottom of this post, or send us your adventures via email to either or We’ll combine all the comments and stories we receive and publish them in an upcoming post.

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