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$63,000 Bar Tab Provides Lessons in Wine Selection

Posted by perle0 on 2005-01-16 02:43:58 (3473 views)

The incident is not really news, since it happened several years ago, and in London. But it's still a great story. Six London bankers go to a top-notch restaurant with a wine list to die for, and order the most expensive wines on the menu.

Their meal was free, because they spent so much on the bar bill. Their drinks included three bottles of Chateau Petrus, a 1984 Montrachet, and a vintage 1900 Chateau d'Yquem sauterne, plus two beers and a pack of cigarettes. The hundred-year-old sauterne alone cost over $13,000 at the exchange rate at the time. Then they tried to put the bill on their expense accounts...and got caught, fired, and made fun of in public, as they deserved.

Why talk about it now? just because an article on the CNN website uses this incident as a jumping-off place for a good discussion about why it's silly to order your wine by looking at the price tag.

"The irony is that they made a huge mistake from the standpoint of food pairings," [Karen] MacNeil [, author of The Wine Bible,] argues. "When you order a great, extraordinarily nuanced wine like a Petrus, your meal should be something basic like a grilled steak. If the food has all these bells and whistles, you'd do just as well with a $40 Cabernet."

The article even includes suggestions for what wines the experts iwould recommend to more appropriately accompany such a meal--including selections that would still have cost a pretty penny.


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