Betty's Wine Musings
Jeff Nott talks about saving wine for a special event
Jeff Nott talks about saving wine for a special event

I’m very excited to have a guest post today from Jeff Nott, a serious wine enthusiast and a wonderful person. I’ve asked Jeff for a while to write an article for my blog, and I’m thrilled to share it with you now. His focus: saving wine for a special event.

Ah, wine. Although most associate it with a fine meal, there is a lot more to wine than just pairing it appropriately with food. There are many wonderful occasions that we celebrate with wine: social occasions to imbibe with friends, just going on a tasting spree at favorite wineries, and so much more.

Can you think of anything special that you associate with wine?

Well, I can. Let me tell you about a special treat that I set up many years ago. Sometime in the late 80’s, my wife and I were on a special wine tour in the Napa Valley. We happened to be having a delightful dinner at Sterling Vineyards, which included some nice tastings of their fabulous wines. During the dinner, we came up with a great idea. Why not get some wine to put down to celebrate our daughters’ 21st birthdays? It was suggested we buy magnums so they would age better. And that’s what we did. We bought 3 magnums each of the ’82 and ’84 Cabernet vintages – the birth years of our daughters.

We placed the bottles in our wall unit in the living room and turned them every few months. (Well, maybe not every few months, but whenever we remembered to do so.) It was as cool and dark a place as we had at the time. Eventually we did get a cooler to keep them at a better temp.

I talked about this venture to several friends over the years of waiting. I had a few offers to sell my bottles as I discovered that these were considered to be very good years for the Napa Cabs. But we held steadfast to our goal.

Eventually the day came – April 15th, 2003 – to open the ’82. The first bottle opened with ease as the cork slid out without falling apart. Hmmmm, it smelled great. I decanted the wine to keep the sediment from filling the glasses. The color was not red, but more red-brown, almost the color of light chocolate. The aroma was very mild. It did not have a very big nose as the tannins were all but spent. But the taste was spectacular! Like no wine I had ever had before. A very mellow and delicate melt-in-your-mouth feel. It was quite the treat for all the family present. The cork fell apart upon opening of the second bottle. It was not quite as luscious as the first, but still an experience.

We repeated the same scenario 2 years later at my second daughter’s 21st birthday.

Yes, wine can be more than just that beverage enjoyed with your meal. You can make it an event.


Jeff, thank you for this wonderful account of saving wine for a special occasion. I especially love that you bought magnums, since the larger bottles are so much better for aging.

If you have a story about saving wine for a special occasion, please share it here.

As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!

Cheers, Betty Kaufman
WineShop At Home

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  1. That is a great story. I can’t help but wonder what that wine was worth by the time you opened it. Not that it really matters when you are doing this for such a special occasion but it can be an interesting thing to find out just before you pop that cork.

    Thanks for the article Jeff.

    1. Hi Kim. I sent your response to Jeff. Here is how he responded.

      Kim, over the years I did wonder what price they would fetch. By the intimations of some of my oenophile friends, I thought I could have auctioned them at the time for $250-400. But the return on the investment would not be the same. Their intrinsic value gave me a much greater and longer lasting return than the potential few extra dollars in my pocket.

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