$500 Dinner Dilemma

Posted by The Wine Whore |

Last year at the Make a Wish silent charity auction I bid on a $500 dinner at a restaurant somewhat local restaurant... and WON!

Sounds great, right?

Well, the problem is that my wife and I decided to use our dinner this Friday and I can't figure out which bottle or bottles of wine to choose! I want to stay as close to the $500 total which includes meal and beverages (minus tax and gratuity) and I figure that since this place is a bit pricey, the cost of our food and before dinner drinks will probably run about $200-$250. That leaves us about $250 to spend on wine. Being a good wino, I called ahead and had the wine list emailed to me.

Which bottle(s) would you choose from this wine list?

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Richard Auffrey said...

I suggest the 2000 Col Solare, Proprietary Blend, Columbia Valley $142 and the 2007 Belle Glos 'Las Alturas' Santa Lucia Highlands $91.

Adam said...

01' Chave Hermitage-It's $300, but so much better than the rest of the list, that you may want to split a meal and have Chave instead.


The Wine Whore said...

How bad is the markup on those bottles? Is there any one that is a good value?

Judging by the ones I know pricing for on the list, there's seems to be somewhere between 2-3x markup on most of the bottles... is there anything on the list that is a good value?

Rachel said...

What are you going to eat? I would think about that first and have a couple of selections picked based on if you go with fish vs. beef, etc. Looks like the markups are going to take a bite out of you first though!

The Wine Whore said...

That's a great question... we'll be doing beef for sure... probably a nice Ribeye or Filet.

Markups look a bit rough considering the quality of the list :(

What would you choose?

Rachel said...

The practical girl and mom in me (who is me, actually) would go with one of the $30-39 cab bottles. I would then order desserts or something to bring home for my daughters or to pack for my husband's lunch the next day.

If I was feeling splurgy though, I'd want to try the Coppola "Director's Cut" (seriously, that's a ridiculously annoying name) on the list to see if there is any more to a "Coppola" bottle or if FFC is just trying to capitalize on the Godfather movies. Ya know, I asked some wine guy a question about his opinion on this very topic. Still waiting for an answer. :)

The Wine Whore said...

There's no chance I'm going the practical route this time! :P

I was thinking about the Coppola, but what if it sucks or is just disappointing?

P.S. I have actually been working on a post to respond to your celebrity wine question but didn't post it yet... it's missing something, but I haven't figured out how far I want to go to prove my point! :)

I'll make sure to post it soon!

Rachel said...

I wouldn't go with a Pinot Noir with a Ribeye or filet. I just wanted to bring up the Coppola issue.

I also figured you were going to answer the question and I'm really looking forward to the answer.

My guess is is the pinot would be disappointing so don't waste the money.

I just checked and the Chalone Cab ($30) sells for between $10-$15. The St. Francis 2005 retails for $16-19 and the restaurant is selling it for $60. I'd go with the Chalone for sure.

I'd also go back and ask the manager about that markup--after your meal of course. Just am curious how they would respond to you questioning how they got that number when the retail prices are so similar.

I would check off which bottles you are interested in, do an online price comparison and go with the most "economical" of the bunch.

Mike Supple said...

Nothing on the list jumped out as a particular value, but there are definitely some bottles that gouge you more than others.

My thoughts in a couple different price ranges:
2006 Numanthia Termes - Delicious, spicy Spanish wine. Often disappears once Parker's reviews come out. This is only marked up about 2x.

2005 Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf du Pape - at $100 this is actually about 2.5x markup, but it should be showing really well right now and would be great with steak. Great fruit and spice with really silky mouth feel.

2005 Dominus - very expensive, but for restaurant pricing $212 is actually on the low end. This is possibly the best wine they've ever made. Still young, so decant it - but it is outstanding.

Let us know what you go with!

Chris Broholm said...

Nicolas Potel is a very nice burgundian producer, I've had a few of his wines (also 2005) and I found them to be of general good quality.

For heaven sake, make sure not to get anything american - You have a billion other opportunities for that. Get yourself a nice European wine, that's my advice.

Disclaimer: I'm not degrading the wines of America, I'm merely suggesting that as a citizen of the states, buying European when presented with the chance is probably good.

The Wine Whore said...

That's a great idea Rachel! I've printed off the wine list and made some notes... thanks to you guys, I think I'll be drinkin' pretty well! :)

Mike- Someone earlier actually told me to stay away from the Numanthia... said it was overhyped... what's you thoughts on that?

They also did share your thoughts on the Dominus... I'm leaning towards trying this one. Is it all that? :)

I like the idea of buying something from outside the US... just having trouble figuring out which one!

I'll try to sneak my Flip with me to dinner... and either way, I'll make sure to let you guys know what I go with!

750 mL said...

Commented on twitter.com/750_mL. Funny how easy it was to figure out this was a steak joint from the list. Definitely agree on the Potel, but if you are going all out with ribeyes, La Nerthe and Termes are great calls. If you want a little more old school, though, do Darioush for cab or Prunotto for Barolo. Latter probably the most interesting pairing.

The Wine Whore said...

You guys have been really helpful! I don't think I would have tried these but that would have only been because I wasn't familiar with their names.

Now I've got some cool stuff I wanna try!


Richard Auffrey said...

I don't see any real values on this list either, basically nothing less than 2X retail.

The Wine Whore said...


I really wish restaurants like this would throw in more "gems" that are reasonably priced. You know what I mean, give us wine lovers something we can go to that makes us feel like we're getting a great deal! :)

Anonymous said...

I think the 2006 Thermes is a wonderful example of spanish tempranillo. My Tasting notes for 2006 Thermes, http://vincellar.vinfolio.com/do/vincellar/wineDetail/2006_Numanthia_Termes?wineId=79781&year=2006


Barbara @ Vino Luci Style said...

I've only had a couple of these bottles but from what I've heard and from experience with a different Coppola they're not JUST a celebrity name; they make some decent wines.

I'm a fan of St. Supery too; I've got some of their Merlot right now and I'm enjoying it very much. I also am a fan of 7 Deadly Zins but don't think it's the right wine for your meal choice.

I don't recall your question being about selecting the best value...if that were the case, you would have to drink some water and forego the wine entirely!

MVineyards said...

Skip the first half of the list and work your way to Italian wines! You are spending "Disney Dollars". Blow it on wine you would never buy otherwise. I would start off with a sparkling wine by the glass just to warm up things between you and Mr. WineWhore. Too bad there is no Prosecco by the glass. Next work your way to the Antinori Tiganello. After dinner pick a nice cheese plate and finish up with the Amarone. All total about $365. Descent value and leaves $135 for food. You'll have to pick up the tip!

The Wine Whore said...

Ok, after carefully considering all of the options you guys have suggested, I've narrowed the list down to:

01' Chave Hermitage $300
2005 Dominus $212
Darioush for cab $164
Col Solare, Proprietary Blend, Columbia Valley $142
2006 Numanthia Thermes Toro Spain $67
2005 Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf du Pape - at $100

The wife and I have a long trip to get back home, so I'm thinking of doing the Chave and only having one bottle... or if the meal comes out less, maybe throwing in a bottle of the Thermes Toro... what do you think? Wise move?

Anonymous said...

Go for the Hermitage

Rachel said...

Ya know, I didn't comment on the fact that I think it's really cool that you participated in the "make a wish" auction.

Enjoy your dinner tonight. Can't wait to read about the details and what you wind up getting!

The Wine Whore said...

Thanks Rachel! :)

I really appreciate that! I'm stoked... I'll make sure to tweet and post how it went tomorrow! :)

Any good weekend plans?

Kevin-WineDudeOnline said...

if you're wanting to blod the wad on one big and then a reasonable bottle, i would say the Col Solare Blend for the big purchase. I have always been a fan of the blends, you kind of get the best of both worlds. for a reasonable bottle, i would say maybe the Ridge Zinfandel or the Buehler Estate Cab (i've had this one and it is pretty good).


WineCon said...

Bring your own and pay the corking fee that way you can have a VERY nice meal.

The Wine Whore said...

Thank you for the suggestions! Unfortunately, I don't think I'd be able to spend all of that on the meal... even if I tried! And believe me, I'm gonna try! :P

BoozingIt said...

I would get the 2005 Lafite Reserve Speciale Pauillac Rouge and 2006 Cakebread Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon. I would have them bring both bottles to the table, and decant the Cakebread Cabernet immediately so that you can enjoy it with dinner. I would drink the Lafite Reserve before dinner with appetizers.

The Wine Whore said...

I'm a huge fan of the Cakebread Cab... I like your suggestion BoozingIt! Lemme ask you a question, have you noticed a difference between the 2005 and the 2006 Cakebread? I'm not sure if it's all in my head, but it seems like the 2005 was a little fuller bodied... wonder if I'm crazy! :)

Rachel said...

Weekend Plans: We're thinking about going to NYC for the day. Don't know if we'll get motivated enough to follow that through. Have a great dinner.

BoozingIt said...

I get more dark berries and fruit on the 2005. The good fruit really helps balance it out. The 2006 not so much has more of a spice and chocolate feel.

The Wine Whore said...

Did you make it to NYC Rachel?

That's kinda what I was noticing too Boozingit! Wasn't sure if it was just my imagination but I really like the 2005 better than the 2006.

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