http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/26/business/26TAST.html?pagewanted=print [You probably have heard about the five Barclays bankers canned for running up a $62,700 wine bill, and then tried to pass this off as client expenses. I would like to point out to ISN subscribers Blackhat Las Vegas is coming around the corner and have you seen the wine collection for Aureole at the Mandalay Bay? Nudge Nudge, :) - WK] February 26, 2002 By R. W. APPLE Jr. Mink isn't good enough for some people. They have to have ermine. For such types, BMW's are too common. They crave Lamborghinis. It's not about beauty or excellence, it's about rarity. And so it was with the high-rolling sextet of investment bankers who showed up one night last year at Pétrus, a glossy restaurant up the street from St. James's Palace in London, where the Prince of Wales lives. For their $63,000, they drank well - spectacularly well, no doubt about that - but they could have indulged in wretched, wonderful excess for barely a tenth of that total if they just ignored their egos. They opened with a 1984 Montrachet, a not notably distinguished vintage of the world's greatest dry white wine. But like Olympic figure skaters, our drinkers were probably overexcited at the start, and there are no bad Montrachets, anyway. But then they ordered three vintages of Château Pétrus, the greatest of all Pomerols (very nearly pure merlot) and consistently the most expensive Bordeaux, produced in tiny quantities (5,000 12-bottle cases a year). They settled upon the first three vintages after World War II, which are both scarce and stupendous, although the 1946 is markedly less magical than the other two. The 1945 ($16,500) and the 1947 ($17,500) are coveted by plutocrats and collectors everywhere. And after all, why not drink Pétrus while dining at Pétrus? Why not drink the legendary 1945, which fetched $33,300 at Sotheby's in New York in 1995? By that standard, insane as it may be, $16,500 is a bargain-basement price. But consider: At the Bistro Champlain, north of Montreal, you can drink Pétrus 1945 for just $10,000. At Pétrus, the restaurant, you can drink Pétrus 1970, which is almost as rich and almost as concentrated, if not quite as rare, for $4,100, to say nothing of Pétrus 1985, which is at its peak these days, for a mere $1,425. It just takes homework. Patience. A well-timed question to the sommelier. The reward? Enough money left over to order two or even three bottles of the magnificently honeyed Château d'Yquem 1900, one of the greatest sweet wines ever made, and a real snip at $13,100 a bottle. Count the boys and girls from Barclays Capital wise all the same. They could have bought Enron; some of their colleagues did. - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
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