Was in San Francisco this past week spending Thanksgiving with my wife’s family. We were doing a little shopping and decided to get some lunch. Stopped into a nice café. Asked to see the wine list and was pleasantly surprised by the selection and variety. My eyes gazed down to the Alsace section and lo and behold what did I see? Trimbach Clos St. Hune 2010. Now I knew that could not be as the 2010 has not been released yet (was just tasting the '07 with the Trimbachs a few weeks earlier). But my wife suggested I ask to see what they would bring out. So I asked and the waitress said she believed they had the wine. I then asked her to bring out the bottle expecting some non-cru pinot gris or something. But what does she come back with? The 2003 Clos St. Hune! I asked about the price and if it was for the same price on the list? Yes she said…$44!!
I always like this thread when it pops up every few years. I’ll toss in my favorites.
Restaurant in New Orleans pre-Katrina. 1990 Lafleur on the list for like $125. Drank one (too young but what are you gonna do?) and tried to buy the rest (no luck)
In Rome. Massively marked up Italian list. Almost gave up. Back of the book, some Aussies (who would go for an Aussie wine in Rome?). 1990 Grange ‘Hermitage’ for like $60. We had 2!
Miami at the Setai bar a few years back. Looking for something not massively marked up. What’s this? 1999 DRC ‘RSV’ for around $400 per bottle. Drank 1, then 2.
Mid '00s, Sea Island Georgia, main hotel. Wine list. '99 DRC ‘La Tache’ for $600 per. Tasty.
Whenever this thread pops up, my 2 favorite stories are the one where they guy orders “chateauneuf du pape” in some backwater place and gets served '78 Rayas. Also the duty free shop that got their allocation of DRC and priced all the bottles at the same price (bad for Echezeaux buyers, fantastic for RC buyers!)
Nothing of the order of the above but I am always gratified to find e.g. Raveneau and Coche-Dury wines in e.g. the 3* Troisgros and Cote St. Jacques at much less than the over-the-counter merchant price in the UK.
Probably the biggest differential was 1990 Cristal at the 2* Domaine des Hauts de Loire [admittedly quite a few years ago] for the equivalent of £50 a bottle. The same wine would have been 5 to 6 times that, even back then, in an equivalent UK hotel/restaurant.
Of course at those prices we wouldn’t have been drinking it but since we were staying at the Domaine we had it several more times. For that and many other reasons the place is our favourite French hotel/restaurant and a frequent destination. Unfortunately they have since brought their Cristal into a more logical relationship with equivalent wines.
Forgot another one. 1990 Rayas on the list in one of the great hotel restaurants in Paris, early '00s. E150 or so per bottle. I ordered one, the somm said that the '87 was drinking better and would I prefer that one at the same price. NO! Bring The 1990 Juice!!! Had 2 of them before they claimed they were out.
late 2006. At La Tour d’Argent in Paris. Had 1990 Roumier ‘Musigny’, ‘Bonnes Mares’ and ‘Amoureuses’ for an average of $800 per bottle if I’m not mistaken. Of course that also includes tax (no tax) and tip (mostly, I gave the Somm a little extra).
Happened to me, too.
Mid 90ies in the Toscana - and because I´ve never been very interested in Italian wines I only ocasionally looked thru the shopping window of a vinotheque … and what did I see?
A case of DRC stucked in the back.
Only 4 bottles left, 3 Echezeaux and one La Tache 1986 - all for the same price (then some 90.000 Lire which was about 100 Euro). I asked the chief about the other bottles, especially RC … all already sold for the SAME price !
Peter, restaurant in a private club in Toronto. They have a lot of older wine bought on release and they mark it up 4 or 5% each year. An attorney I do business with belongs to the club. And he’s a wine guy to boot. I need to visit more often.