Open That Bottle Night: 1982 Chateau Mouton Rothschild

By Kori ~ March 3rd, 2010.

This year marks the 11th anniversary of Open That Bottle Night. Open That Bottle Night, created by former Wall Street Journal wine columnists Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher in 2000, is the one night a year that we are all encouraged to get out that bottle of wine that is so special that no special occasion seems special enough to actually open it. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive or the oldest bottle that you own; it just has to mean something to you. Just open it already…and enjoy!

For this year’s Open That Bottle Night, Dad (John) graciously went deep into his cellar and pulled out a wine on his bucket list that he has been holding onto for years. We enjoyed a bottle of 1982 Chateau Mouton Rothschild with Mom’s fabulous, Julie & Julia-inspired meal of Beef Bourguignon, roasted garlic mashed sweet potatoes, and green beans with tomatoes. Wow! The wine, the food, the pairing, and the evening spent with family were truly amazing…just what OTBN is all about.

Chateau Mouton Rothschild is one of the famous First Growths of Bordeaux, the only one elevated to that status after the original 1855 classification. After years and years of lobbying by owner Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Mouton Rothschild was promoted to First Growth (or Premier Cru) status in 1973.

Located in the village of Pauillac in the Médoc region of Bordeaux, France, Chateau Mouton Rothschild was originally known as Chateau Brane-Mouton until Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild bought and renamed it in 1853. No one else in the family took a real interest in the Chateau until 1922 when Baron Philippe decided to devote his life’s work to it. Today, Chateau Mouton Rothschild is owned by his daughter Baroness Philippine and her children and continues to be regarded as one of the world’s finest wines.

1982 Chateau Mouton Rothschild (Pauillac, Médoc, Bordeaux, France): Very dark, garnet brick in color. Lovely nose of prunes, licorice, smoke, and bell peppers. Gorgeous black fruits come through at first, amazingly vibrant fruit considering its age. Lots of layers to this wine. Licorice, prunes, spice, cinnamon, and smoked game also on the palate. Full-bodied with good acidity and medium to high, drying tannins. Well-balanced and smooth with stunning complexity and a lengthy finish. Decanted 2 hours prior to serving, and remarkably, got even better during the hour it was open with dinner.
Quality: 5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Hart Davis Hart (Chicago, Illinois), $475; Available elsewhere, $740 to $2550

You might be wondering how a $475 wine can have a QPR rating of 4 bangs for your buck. Please keep in mind that a high “bang for your buck” does not always mean a low price. It means that the wine has a good price compared to wines of similar quality within the same varietal or category (i.e. this wine’s QPR is calculated in comparison to other Bordeaux wines). For a more complete explanation of our ratings system, visit Wine Ratings.

If you missed this year’s OTBN, go ahead and open your special bottle anyway. Or you can join us for next year’s OTBN on Saturday, February 26, 2011 (always the last Saturday in February).

What did you open for Open That Bottle Night this year?

Filed under: Five-Star Quality Wines, French Wine, Red Wine, Wines Over $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Dave N. | March 3rd, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Kori — Sounds like a fantastic OTBN. Here’s the report from our celebration in Ohio. Not quite as grand in quality, but outstanding in QPR!


  2. Mike Veseth | March 3rd, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Sounds like you had a great time. Our OTBN was an over-the-top affair again this year. You can read about our tasting and about the OTBN movement more generally here

    I’ll paste the wine menu below. Cheers!
    Mike Veseth

    Wine Menu (listed by vintage year, not the order tasted)

    Solter Rheingau Riesling Brut Sekt 2006

    Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova 2004

    Callaghan Vineyards Sonoita (Arizona) Padres 2003

    Shanxi Grace Vineyards (China) Tasya’s Reserve Cabernet Franc 2003

    Racines Les Cailloux du Paradis (Loire) 2003

    Chateau Haut Brion Blanc 1998

    BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (magnum) 1997

    Champagne Charles Ellner Brut 1996

    Chateau d’Yquem 1996

    Paul Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle 1990

    Chateau Figeac St-Emilion Premier Grand Cru 1967

    Chateau Cheval Blanc 1961

    Taylor Vintage Port 1960

  3. Phil Anderson | March 4th, 2010 at 11:59 am

    It sounded like you all had a wonderful time! Beef Bourguignon! YUM! This was the second year we didn’t have a little soiree for OTBN but we enjoyed ourselves. You can read about it at I look forward to meeting with your Wine Peeps team at some point. I think you know my sister, Terese Machmiller. I will be in Seattle in a week and a half. My e-mail is Bottoms Up!

  4. Thomas @ The Blog Wine Cellar | March 4th, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    So amazing to open a wine such as this. Like they say in “Sideways” when you open a bottle like this, “It” is the special occasion. Cheers~

  5. Kori | March 5th, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Thanks for sharing you OTBN selections. You covered quite a few different wine regions. Way to go!

    Thanks for sharing your writeup about OTBN. Your group sure knows how to do OTBN right. What a lineup of wines and food.

    We did have a wonderful time and sounds like you did too. Yes, I do know Terese and look forward to meeting you one of these days.

    You are absolutely right. In the case of this wine, “it” was the special occasion.