Wine Occasions: Open That Bottle Night - What Wine Should You Open?

Wine Occasions: Open That Bottle Night - What Wine Should You Open?

Angelica Nohra
Wine Importer | Wine List Consultant | Speaker

It's interesting you know... I have hundreds of bottles of wine sitting in my cellar and yet, I don't want to drink them on my own. The wines that cost me the most, the wines I travelled furthest to get are the wines I want to share with like-minded friends. Friends who get it. 

Friends who:

1) I can share the story of the wine with. 

2) I can do a little brag about.

3) I can compare notes with. 

I also know if I'm bringing a good bottle of wines to a friend's place, my friend is also bringing a good bottle of wine so its definitely worth it. 

There is an exceptional day during the year where I make an effort to pull something really good out of the cellar...or multiple really good things. I look for something I've been saving for a special occasion but that occasion doesn't seem to be coming around so any excuse will do. 

The best night to do it is Open That Bottle Night. It happens once a year (or you can make a few more up if you really want to) and it's a night where, around the world, you are encouraged to open a bottle of wine you have been saving. 

Over the years, I've always had Open that Bottle Night with Friends and it starts with Champagne, moves onto white, then rosé, red before finishing on a sticky of some sort. 

The Champagne is always Vintage. A 1995 Charles Heidsiek Blanc de Millionaires for instance or a Magnum of 1997 Henri Abelé (amazing). 

The whites are usually a really old Australian Chardonnay (a real highlight and treat was the 1981 Lakes Folly Chardonnay from the Hunter. Unbelievably fresh for it's age) or something European, like a Marrenon Grand Marrenon Blanc. Something a little special that has some history. 

The rosé sits in the middle as a palate cleanser before the reds. They aren't particularly old but they will be something a little unusual like the Simon Gilbert Saignee from Mudgee or Tenuta Mara Sangiovese Rosato (strange, skin contact 'white' sang that is actually pink in colour). 

The reds are the usually the highlights of the evening. People bring over the big guns. The 20-30 year old Barossa Valley Shiraz's, the 20 year old Red Burgundy, the 20 year old Barolo and Brunello. There are some doozys that come out. One of the best experiences I've had was a 2000 Chateau Musar from Lebanon which I thought would be vinegar but it was had still retained some fruit even though it was most tertiary characters (cigar box, leather, prune etc). Another awesome find was a 2000 Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino (drank WAY too young...needed another 5 years but was such a treat) and a Tenuta San Guido Guildalberto Supertuscan. Not forgetting Seghesio's Venom from Sonoma, USA. Wow. What an awesome Sangiovese.... Obviously you can tell I'm a big fan of Sangiovese because I was also pleasantly surprised by the 2006 Sensi Brunello di Montalcino as well last year. Outstanding for a 12 year old Brunello. 

There are more of course but these are some of the highlights I've had over the years at Open that Bottle Night. 

So my question to you is, what will you be opening on OTBN? 

Our Top Picks for " Open That Bottle Night"


Henri Abelé NV Brut

Maison Abelé has two kilometres of underground cellars dug out of solid chalk in the heart of Reims. Devotion to excellence is natural in these ancient vaulted cellars. 

Made from the best crus in Champagne, Brut Traditionnel is ready to drink after three years of ageing under ideal conditions, away from light and variations in temperature.

Grand Marrenon AOC Luberon White


Straw-yellow with silver reflects. The nose expresses floral and fruity aromas with white flowers overtone (hawthorn, acacia) completed by yellow peaches.


To be served at 12°C. This wine will ideally accompany a truffle omelette or spiny lobster. Wine for ageing to drink within 5 years.

Robert Parkers Wine Advocate 90/100
Gault&Millau 17/20
Le Guide Hachette des vins

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