"Life's for living, yeah, that's our philosophy…"

by Katie Pizzuto on February 5, 2009

in Open That Bottle Night,Saving special wine,Twitter Taste Live

old-wineI’ve been known to do a lot of sneaky, underhanded things in the name of good wine, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. And since most of my family doesn’t read this blog anyway, I know I’ll safely remain in their good graces despite my enological confessions here. For instance, I’m not generally known to draw comparisons between Nixon and myself, but do I always serve guests the same wine I’m drinking? No friggin’ way. If I’m having people over that could care less what wine is in their glass, I’ll generally serve something mildly but unquestionably better than Beringer White Zin and keep the bottle of the “good stuff” stashed away behind something unappealing—like a pile of dirty dishes. That way, I can sneak away and get my refill all Mission-Impossible-like, leaving the dishes placed ever so, to create an impromptu tripwire should anyone discover my booty.

I’m also smart enough to know whom I do and don’t ask to bring wine to a party. My dad, for instance (God bless him), has fallen prey to all the critter wines that line the shelves these days. If it has a funky label, or better yet a funky name (i.e. Wrongo Dongo), in the shopping cart it goes. I once, in a pinch, asked him to pick up a couple of bottles on his way up to my son’s birthday party, and have spent the better part of 2 years trying to forget that FishEye merlot he brought, which they claim is wine—I’m dubious. So if I’m inviting people over and they ask, “Can I bring some wine for you?” I know who gets a yes and who gets a no. Sorry if that seems pretentious, but if you read this blog on a regular basis, chances are you already know I don’t give a crap what you think. You did know that, right?

But here’s something I DON’T do in the name of good wine—save it. We’ve all got special bottles put away for some dumbass reason or another. Maybe it’s a gifted bottle from your birth year’s vintage. Or perhaps it’s one that you inherited, bought with your first paycheck, celebrated with at your wedding, or partied with after your divorce. But wine is meant to be drunk and enjoyed not propped in a display case or looked upon as a relic of our memories. Dottie Gaiter and John Brecher over at the WSJ have been preaching this “drink the damned thing already” concept for almost 10 years now with Open That Bottle Night (OTBN). As their 10th anniversary approaches, cork dorks everywhere are getting ready to celebrate with an episode of Twitter Taste Live hoping to be the biggest live online tasting yet. But screw that! Don’t even bother waiting for February 28th’s episode, people! The only requirement for the perfect moment to drink that bottle is that you can give it your attention. Other than that, everything else is gravy. Books are meant to be read, music is meant to be heard and wine is meant to be drunk. Open that blasted bottle already, and create new memories before you’re too old to remember them.

Why the hell are you still here reading? GO!

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 The Wine Commonsewer February 6, 2009

None of my beeswax, but you gotta take your address off the front of this blog. There’s a lot of weirdos in teh intertubes.

Benito has a nice approach that might work for you.


Whoa, Cue Twilight Zone music, I did this same post this afternoon.


2 The Wine Commonsewer February 6, 2009

Meant to also remark that yours was longer and very nicely done.

We used to throw an annual 4th of July Bash and all my wino friends would bring these fabuloso wines. We never had them sitting out on the counter with the rest of the reds. You had to know the password. And the hand shake. And have the secret decoder ring to get a spill of what we were drinking. We were very discreet……

I just can’t bear it when you offer someone a glass of good red and they proclaim how good it is and then walk into the kitchen and fill the glass the rest of the way with 7-Up.

Actually had that happen once.


3 Katie Pizzuto February 6, 2009

I’ll do you one worse…friend I know was saving a bottle he’d been dying to try and opened it (and another lesser wine) at dinner. Before he was able to pour himself a glass the “good bottle” started making its way around the dinner table and I believe it was the sister-in-law that proceeded to pour nearly half the bottle into her glass, take a sip, declare it a terrible wine and pour it DOWN THE SINK before he could stop her. Thanks for the thought…I’ll take you up on that advice about the address.


4 Coupe 60 February 10, 2009

Too late, I already have your address tattooed to my body, and spend every spare waking minute stalking you…

Actually I spend every spare waking minute coaching youth basketball..and my wife won’t let me get a tattoo (or stalk another woman for that matter) so forget that…

I don’t hide a separate bottle from my guests, but will open a “guest appropriate bottle” depending on who is coming over for dinner after getting tired of seeing certain guests requesting more ice cubes for their Brunello….


5 Katie Pizzuto February 10, 2009

What in the name of all that is holy, is it with people putting ice in red wine? It’s bad enough when it gets put in white, but red?! ARRGHHH!!!


6 Coupe 60 February 10, 2009

keep in mind I said more ice cubes…The original cubes melted and I had to retrieve more to place in the same glass…


7 The Wine Commonsewer February 12, 2009

The ice is for the wine that is cellared next to the furnace in the back room of the restaurant.

The trick is to use one cube quickly that is fished out with a spoon before it fully melts. Just enough to cool the wine down without watering it down.

True enough that it is a stopgap measure, but when you are served a glass of red that is eighty degrees F, sometimes you must take remedial action.


8 Katie Pizzuto February 12, 2009

TWC, that is the first logical and sound reason I have ever heard for using an ice cube in wine. You feeling alright? 😉


9 Elaine February 18, 2009

I’m showing this one to my husband who is guarding two bottles of wine we brought back from Italy 5 years ago (I’m eternally hopeful that they aren’t vinegar from poor handling)for a “special occasion.” By my count we’ve had AT LEAST 7 occasions that would qualify but still they sit in the wine rack. Dammit.


10 Katie Pizzuto February 18, 2009

Good for you, Elaine!! I’m curious to know what wines they are…let us know! Also, as an interesting aside, wine contains none of the essential ingredients to turn it into vinegar. If left open, it’ll oxidize, and if left near heat it will “cook” but you’ll never be able to use “bad” wine as a salad dressing 😉

Were they kept in a relatively stable temp. area? (AKA – NOT the kitchen)


11 Elaine February 18, 2009

Won’t turn into vinegar – noted. But surely it will not taste as the vintner intended… 😉 As far as I can recall, they’ve been kept at a fairly stable temp (no, not in the kitchen – I know that much) either in my parents’ basement or a closet in our house.

Lloyd is guarding the following for a “special occasion:” Chateau de St Martin Cru Classe 1999, Banfi Santa Costanza Novello 2002, and Castello di Verrazzano Chianti Classico 1995


12 Katie Pizzuto February 19, 2009

Elaine, open ANY of the above and the continue to open the rest! I’ll be honest, none of these are going to do better by you sitting around for a couple more years. The St. Martin is a wine from Provence (I’m assuming you bought the red) that can be put down for a few years, but isn’t meant for long-term aging. The Banfi has some gamay (what’s used to make Beaujolais) in it and not meant for serious aging either. The Verrazzano 1995 some people are saying may have even passed its peak, so DRINK DRINK DRINK!!!! 🙂


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