back to article Wine? No, posh noshery in high spirits despite giving away £4,500 bottle of Bordeaux

Buying an entire bottle of house red at a restaurant is often enough to make wallets scream with terror, but one fortunate diner at Hawksmoor in Manchester saved a corking £4,240 when they were served the wrong Bordeaux last night. Yet wine the posh noshery did not, copping to the error on Twitter with good humour after making …

  1. Oliver Mayes

    I doubt anyone could tell the difference anyway, wine is wine.

    1. M. Poolman

      Wine is wine

      Not really, I think most people would identify a £30 bottle as being better than a £5 bottle. The problem is that the improvement in quality is subject to the law of diminishing returns as the price goes up. Same with whisky.

      1. MJB7 Bronze badge

        Re: Wine is wine

        Well I wouldn't agree with Mr Poolman that *any* wine is wine.

        On the other hand, I doubt there are many people who can tell the difference between a £4500 bottle and £260 bottle (I am sure there are some). The big market for £4500 bottles of wine is for people who want to show off how much money they have. And of course, putting them on the menu makes the £260 bottle look positively reasonable (it isn't).

        1. M. Poolman

          Re: Wine is wine

          "Wine is wine" was quoting the OP, and I was disagreeing with the statement!

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Wine is wine

            Wine is not an emulator. It's wine.

          2. aks Bronze badge

            Re: Wine is wine

            Shame. I agreed with the comment. I prefer an honest pint to a glass of the fanciest win any day.

        2. DougS Silver badge

          Re: Wine is wine

          putting them on the menu makes the £260 bottle look positively reasonable

          Yep, google "price anchoring".

        3. NATTtrash
          Devil

          Re: Wine is wine

          Can I have a pack of crisps with that please?

        4. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

          Re: Wine is wine

          @MJB7

          https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/jun/23/wine-tasting-junk-science-analysis

          "The first experiment took place in 2005. The last was in Sacramento earlier this month. Hodgson's findings have stunned the wine industry. Over the years he has shown again and again that even trained, professional palates are terrible at judging wine."

          Personal anecdote, I often find more expensive wines disappointing, and not as enjoyable, because I'm trying too hard to analyse the flavours.

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: Wine is wine

            professional palates are terrible at judging wine

            Like most professions, wine tasting will follow trends and have in-trade expectations and standards that don't always make sense outside their speciality.

            Whether you like a wine or not often comes down to the individual palette rather than percieved wine 'quality'. I've had £50 bottles that I wouldn't use to clean silver and £5 bottles that were wonderful. And (as I mentioned in a previous post) wine 'quality' is often more about scarcity than actual taste.

      2. tony2heads

        Re: Wine is wine

        "detracts from the essence of Bordeaux and could actually be a very fine Napa wine."

        This says it all, as many new-world wines are every bit as good as (and in some cases better) than the French ones, but don't have the same 'cachet' any nobody would dream of paying wildly inflated prices for them.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Wine is wine

          In general, you're right about "quality" but beyond the techniques involved in making the wine there are other factors that drive the perceived quality, of which the terrorir is one of the most important. Most of the new world wines, though there are some exceptions, are grown/made for quality at scale, which sort can conflict with the idea of terroir which the market generally doesn't recognise.

          It's also nonsense because "Bordeaux" doesn't exist: there are least ten different definitions for the varieties and domains there. Pomerols are traditionally expensive because they only produce tiny amounts (< 1000 cases a year) and quickly become more exclusive, which is what really drives the price.

          Of course, the loss to the restaurant is nothing like as high as the article makes out, because the markup will have been extraordinary.

          If anyone is interested in wine, I can heartily recommend the wine museum in Bordeaux.

          1. chapter32

            Re: Wine is wine

            Your comment about wine making techniques had me thinking about Bernard's finest vintage https://youtu.be/QvEsCVw4nhA

            Enjoy

          2. Aitor 1 Silver badge

            Re: Wine is wine

            Agree, terroir, etc is nonsense.

            Goog agricultural practices, good fermentation techniques, and a lab, and you get nice wine. Not that expensive to get it right, and 4500£ a bottle is as useful as an iphone6 incrusted with diamonds.

            1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Re: Wine is wine

              terroir, etc is nonsense

              Not so - two wines made using the same techniques (methods, grapes and yeasts etc) can taste quite different since the growing conditions can make a substantial difference to the taste of the grapes - which will lead to a substantial difference in the taste of the finished wine.

              Both of a similar quality though - assuming good management used throughout the process.

          3. Dom 3

            Re: Wine is wine

            "the markup will have been extraordinary" - actually, only about 50%:

            https://www.wine-searcher.com/merchant/59166?wine_id_F=76029222

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Wine is wine

          (and in some cases better) than the French ones

          I introduced a previous American manager to Rioja - he was happy to pay £40+ for a bottle of Chateauneuf Du Pape up until I started recommending £25 bottle of Rioja Reserva..

          (OK - so not the same wine since Rioja uses quite different grape varieties but they are of a similar quality. To my uneducated palatte anyway)

      3. ukgnome

        Re: Wine is wine

        @M. Poolman

        Speaking as an ex-bar manager that has been on extensive courses for this sort of thing, nope. The average person couldn't tell the difference. And some sommeliers would have issues too.

        The price on a bottle doesn't reflect the quality of the product (which is wholly subjective anyway)

        1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

          Re: Wine is wine

          So the £4,500 Bordeaux could leave you hanging onto the floor to keep from falling off just as well as a bottle of Wild Irish Rose?

        2. ARGO

          Re: Wine is wine

          Most sommeliers would have trouble at that level. Baseline qualification for them is WSET advanced, and the wines used for that don't venture much beyond £100.

          (BTW, I can thoroughly recommend WSET evening classes - always good to have a fallback career!)

      4. Aitor 1 Silver badge

        Re: Wine is wine

        The 206£ bottle might be better than the more expensive one..

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wine is wine

        The problem is that the improvement in quality is subject to the law of diminishing returns as the price goes up

        Yes, same with sparkling wine. For example, Americans love buying Dom Perignon, though none of them would notice if it's actually a bottle of Moet instead, and most wouldn't notice if it was really "Sam's choice" [Walmart house brand]

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Wine is wine

          None of us would notice? That's a mighty wide brush you paint with, pardner.

          But then I'd expect ignorant comments like that from a native of the country which thinks Babycham is the height of sparkling sophistication ...

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      wine is wine

      .. says someone without functional taste buds (or very little experiance of wine).

      Now I won't claim to be an expert but I can definately tell the difference between wines. Mind you, my taste more runs to heavy reds like Cabalie or Rex Mundi rather than Bordeaux and (in a lot of cases) cost of the wine has more to do with scarcity than actual wine quality..

  2. Lee D Silver badge

    If you can't tell the difference between £4500 and a couple of hundred quid bottle, maybe it's just NOT worth that amount to people?

    I have the same argument over wine, artworks, HDTV, MP3, all kinds.

    If someone actually couldn't tell the difference, then the value isn't there. Sure, a "collector" might think they can tell the difference and so want to pay more, but virtually everyone else who's just buying a bottle of wine? No difference at all.

    This is why I won't pay more for something if *I* can't tell the difference, whether or not someone tries to convince me something is obviously better, or pulls out statistics and facts, and even things like speaker frequency response graphs.

    I'm sure it's "different". But I can't tell. Same reason that I really don't care whether it's a Pepsi or a Coke, but do care about if my beans are Heinz. I can actually tell the difference between both, but the former I just don't care because it tastes nice anyway.

    Do I care that I've not *actually* got a Da Vinci on my wall? Not really. Do I like the picture? If so, I might get a reproduction, print, giclée, or just print out a copy on my own printer and put it in a frame. If the original creator is still around, I'll buy from their official store if they're reasonable, if not I won't.

    If you can't tell the difference, the extra "value" in the difference is zero.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      I was with you until you said you didn't care if it was Pepsi or Coke. What sort of a monster are you?

      1. find users who cut cat tail
        Pint

        Why would you care if it's Pepsi or Coke? Neither of them is beer.

        1. tony2heads

          or in this case - wine

    2. defiler Silver badge

      Whilst I agree for the most part, I'll argue the point on MP3. I keep my music as FLAC, because whatever I need to play it on I can convert it easily. Having a lossless master means that I don't have the compounded losses of different encoding systems.

      (Back in the day, copying CD->Minidisc->Minidisc->Minidisc was fine, but CD->Minidisc->DCC->Minidisc sounded pretty ropey really fast. But in fairness, who the hell ever had DCC and Minidisc?)

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Can I interest you in tuning your NAS drives to give more subtle tones to your music?

        http://www.enjoythemusic.com/hificritic/vol5_no3/listening_to_storage.htm

        It's about the same as a £4,500 Bordeaux

        1. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

          Don't forget the Ethernet leads, otherwise you won't be able to hear the bass euphony and articulation.

          https://www.chord.co.uk/product/chordmusic-streaming-cable/

          A snip at £4,000+

          1. Flywheel Silver badge

            I'd be very careful not to snip near anything that cost £4000 !!

          2. Delbert

            but what are you really drinking/listening to

            I got off the audiophile crazy train a very long time ago, after the constant and expensive upgrades. I was pondering whether the latest change of cartridge for a swingeingly expensive Shure small object of desire was better/cleaner than the one I had found acceptable for a year. I was straining to detect the subtle improvements and nuances then I realised I was no longer listening to the music instead listening to the equipment and that it was beyond futile and defeated the whole point of having the kit in the first place. I feel the same way about drinks once you reach a level where there is a broad enjoyable palette of flavours (and I have drunk some nasty 'French fermented piss' over the years) just have 'the experience' the overwhelming reason to spend several thousand on a bottle is only to show you can afford what other folk cannot and you are probably going to claim you could tell that is was a hundred times better than Aldi £6 a pop Bordeaux. Well it isn't and the very people who perpetuate the myth - wine writers have been caught in the lie in blind tasting tests. If it is enjoyable then you have achieved your goal no matter what you paid.

            1. The Pi Man

              Re: but what are you really drinking/listening to

              An article from What Hi-Fi many years ago has always stuck in my mind. Some dick that had conned his parents into taking out a loan for some outrageous stuff that he intended to pay back with his paper round money, telling the world that he listened to music that he didn’t like because it showed off the tonal acrobatics of the kit (or some such bollocks). And sometimes he’d just sit in silence looking at it.

              1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

                Re: but what are you really drinking/listening to

                "And sometimes he’d just sit in silence looking at it."

                Well, maybe near-silence. I'm sure if you listened carefully, you could detect a low fapping sound.

        2. Lee D Silver badge

          @Alister: OMG... upvote for the belly-laugh if nothing else.

          There's a certain kind of audiophile that no amount of reason will beat sense into their head / ears. And if there was, they'd only complain that the rubber mallet was "more tuneful".

          1. AndrueC Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Gold plated TOSLINK cable anyone?

            "High-grade optical fiber for distortion-free sound

            Gold-plated connectors provide precise contact for the best sound quality"

            1. M. Poolman

              But only if you remember to use: "software respected for its fastidious bit-accurate transcriptions"!

        3. defiler Silver badge

          Holy hell, what did you make me read? And what have you started??

          Also, be sure to plug the Chord network cables in the right way - they're directional, don't you know?

          Honestly, golden-eared bastards... At least I have a rationale for my lossless encoding! Oh, and once you've necked a bottle of Buckie (£7.50 or so), you can't hear the difference, and still have £4492.50 to blow on CDs and cheap NASs!

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          What the hell is that?

          "It could sustain pace and drive, and gave body and richness to music where the Kingston SSD, for example, had been heard as limpid and lightweight."

          Have these people every heard of the word "buffer"? No nas ever "streams" music/data live to a player so in reality they all sound exactly the same but then can I really argue with true masterminds of musical fuckwittery?

          "Madonna's Swim also proved illuminating. William Orbit's judicious dollops of bass synth showed how the QNAP1 had been exaggerating some of that low energy (albeit at the higher end of the range, so leaving 'infrasonic' impact somewhat weakened). QNAP2 was undoubtedly tighter here, and more disciplined."

        5. AIBailey Silver badge
          Mushroom

          That hint of glaze on QNAP1 also showed an impaired subjective noise floor elsewhere. In hi-fi parlance, QNAP2 had the blacker silences and deeper spaces between notes

          My BS meter just exploded :(

          1. jake Silver badge

            That's nothing.

            DDG "audio pebbles" ("Brilliant Pebbles" gets you ballistic missile defense system.)

            Put down your coffee/tea/beer/whatever before reading, unless you want it all over your keybr0ad.

            1. Alister Silver badge

              Re: That's nothing.

              OMFG there are some seriously sad people out there...

              "Brilliant Pebbles addresses specific resonance control and RFI/EMI absorption problems associated with audio electronics, speakers and cables, as well as acoustic wave problems associated with the listening room boundaries and the 3-dimensional space within the boundaries. Brilliant Pebbles comprises a number of precious and semi-precious stones (crystals) selected for their effectiveness. The original glass bottles for Brilliant Pebbles have been replaced by clear zip lock bags, which have a more linear response than glass."

              So for $59.00 you can tape a ziplock bag full of stone chippings to your audio line-in and it will magically improve your sound...

          2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            My BS meter just exploded

            Remember - marketing (no matter what the field) is 99% utter crap judiciously mixed in with just enough fact to ensure that you don't reject it[1] immediately.

            [1] Unless you have suffered an extensive career as a cynical IT person.

        6. Trollslayer Silver badge

          A f*cking idiot.

          That is being polite.

        7. Chris Parsons

          God, there are some berks around. Thanks for the link, loved reading all that complete drivel.

      2. PerlyKing Bronze badge

        Generational losses

        CD->Minidisc->Minidisc->Minidisc was fine

        I thought that SCMS was supposed to prevent that?

        CD->Minidisc->DCC->Minidisc sounded pretty ropey really fast.

        Given the above, are we talking digital or analog copies? If digital, well done. If analog, I'm not surprised that there would be larger generational losses when alternating encoding schemes (ATRAC for MD, PASC for DCC).

        But in fairness, who the hell ever had DCC and Minidisc?

        Flash gits? ;-)

        Back in the day I went all-in on MiniDisc and I don't think I ever saw a DCC "in the wild". Or anyone else with MiniDiscs for that matter....

        1. defiler Silver badge

          Re: Generational losses

          Let's be honest here, I bought CDs and copied them to MD for portable use. I never copied them onwards. I'm going by what I read about at the time, and it makes sense that the same details would be targetted for loss each time, so the signal would degrade gradually.

          Since DCC and Minidisc used different encoding systems, though, they were throwing out different details each time, and introducing new artefacts each time. So it didn't matter a whole lot if the copy was made in the digital domain or converted back to analogue and back - it wasn't a simple file copy between the two (it would be converted to PCM each time), and with the differing encoding methods the deterioration was greatly accelerated.

          I think I only saw a half-dozen or so DCC players in the flesh, and they were in shops or shows! I only met two other people with Minidiscs - one flash git had a MD-HD player. It was nice!

          1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

            Re: Generational losses

            I got my old md deck for passing my GCSE's. Never did find out where it went (I think an old housemate took it with him when he moved and 'forgot' to give it back)

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Generational losses

          I thought that SCMS was supposed to prevent that?

          I had a Sony Minidisc for a while - it wasn't the worst bit of audio kit but it didn't take me long to go up against the "you can only copy it to 3 devices" thing.

          Being a profession poker of kit until it breaks, it didn't take me long to realise that the Sony software used to write tracks to the minidisc player used an Access DB as the metadata storage. So a quick fix went along the lines of "kill the application if it's running, find and delete the Access DB and then restart the application". At which point it would offer to scan your hard drive for music and (assuming that your MP3 tags were properly done[1]) re-create the DB. And, lo and behold, you could copy the music three more times. Rinse and repeat..

          [1] And why wouldn't you? I do admit to being somewhat anal about such things..

      3. Fungus Bob Silver badge

        "I keep my music as FLAC, because whatever I need to play it on I can convert it easily."

        You have trouble finding something to play MP3s? Shirley you must live in Middle Earth.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          MP3

          MP3 isn't that good.

          If a device can handle raw uncompressed or a better encoding why not?

          I find MP3 can sound flat compared to CD.

    3. lglethal Silver badge
      Trollface

      Just to take your argument in the other direction - if the people who got the wine COULD tell the difference between the £4500 and the £260 bottle, are you likely to point out the screw up to the waiter? Or are you just going to saviour drinking a £4500 wine at a 95% discount?

    4. WallMeerkat

      You could buy a Skoda or get the same platform and engines in a more expensive package as an Audi.

      Most people do the latter.

      1. defiler Silver badge

        Dunno why you're getting the downvotes. For the most part, the difference between Audi, Volkswagen, Seat and Skoda is the niceness of the trim (go for the optional interior then) and the newness of the gadgets. Mechanically they're very similar.

        Reminds me of my dad when he had a Jaguar. Lovely motor. His mate worked in a dealer, so when he went in for a headlight bulb his friend talked him down from the £40 part in a Jaguar box, via the £20 part in a Rover box to an identical £7.50 bulb in a Land Rover bag. I know that bulbs are bulbs, but VAG (understandably) share a lot of parts between brands.

    5. MyffyW Silver badge

      @Lee_D Thumb up for recognizing the intrinsic value of Heinz Baked Beans. I favour those grown in the highlands of Chile, but I'm a New World kind of girl.

      1. MyffyW Silver badge

        ... though it has been pointed out that wherever they come from, it's the wizardry in Wigan that makes them so special.

    6. TechnicalBen Silver badge
      Angel

      "HDTV"

      I'll give you MP3 as the format can to some degree have different bitrates.

      But HDTV is miles better than SD, and you'll not get me going back to it! (PS, even the old TV shows/films filmed on the right *film* look a ton better than those filmed on VHS camcorders. Why? Because HD was not a gimmick, it is transferring film/cinema quality to the home, which usually was quick and easy to get it to market and made lots of sacrifices to achieve it).

      I do like art. But I understand it's entirely subjective, both in quality and value. Plus, being able to dabble a little myself, put zero value on the cost of an abstract piece (I can make it myself for less than free), though can appreciate the skill of the artist (that I may not be able to reproduce, but could get close enough for *my* wall... and do actually have one I did XD ). Portraits and commissioned pieces are different, as time and skill go into these. But with the existence of cameras... necessity for artwork changes again.

      I guess money does not always signify cost or value. But can be a cultural ritual too!

  3. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    For wine that expensive I'd want to be fully sober to fully enjoy the experience.

  4. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    I'm wondering about the sensible manager that thought...

    "Oh well, we screwed up, but look how much publicity we've had, and *we* didn't pay four and a half grand for the bottle anyway..."

    1. Bonzo_red

      Re: I'm wondering about the sensible manager that thought...

      Looking at the prices for a 2001 Le Pin, GBP 4,500 is not that bad. Retail is around €3,500 so only a 30% markup.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm wondering about the sensible manager that thought...

      Equally, we don't even know that it happened. The customer wasn't even aware of it. Smells of a publicity stunt to me (with top notes of BS).

      The other thing to ponder, I suspect it's happened the other way round in the past. I doubt they were bragging about that on twitter.

  5. Ben Rosenthal

    "Like a whoosh of hollyhocks straight up your nose!"

    1. TRT Silver badge

      "Like a whoosh of hollyhocks straight up your nose!"

      Most of the plonk I drink has more of a whoosh of hockey sticks straight up your nose.

  6. Eddy Ito Silver badge
    Trollface

    A bottle! No wonder it was so expensive. Wine is much cheaper when you by it in a box.

    1. 0laf Silver badge

      I quite like a box of shiraz. I'm not posh.

  7. 0laf Silver badge

    I can tell the difference between a £5 wine and a £15 wine but not sure I could tell the difference between a £15 and a £5000.

    And I bet plenty of dear ones taste ghastly but if you can afford it you'd probbaly never admit you'd blown your money on an expensive vinegar.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    4,500 is the menu price. THe bottle itself costs 13.95 @ Tesco.

  9. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Wine writers have an overactive imagination

    decadent ... immense richness and voluptuousness ... medium-bodied with a very sweet, luscious entry

    This is exactly what I look for in a girlfriend.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Wine writers have an overactive imagination

      Sir! You are speaking of the woman I love!

      1. tony2heads

        Re: Wine writers have an overactive imagination

        I would be happy with the 'immense richness'

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Wine writers have an overactive imagination

      ...decadent, slightly tart with chocolate cravings.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: Wine writers have an overactive imagination

        Um, I don't think El Reg runs a dating site yet, Myffy...

        1. MyffyW Silver badge

          Re: Wine writers have an overactive imagination

          Happily betrothed in any event, hope the keyboard recovers, Rich.

  10. chivo243 Silver badge
    Trollface

    Wine Steward

    A friend of mine, a chef, and his wine steward told me *off the record* if an inexpensive wine tastes good to you, and an expensive one doesn't, don't drink the expensive one... It's like artwork, and old cars and old coins, the value is in the behind (or bum) of the beholder!

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Wine Steward

      Exactly, apply the two-question test:

      1) Do I like the taste of this?

      2) Am I prepared to pay the price?

      If the answer is yes to both then you have completed your flow chart and can progress to the next level bottle...

  11. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Pint

    No point "wining" about the mistake...

    Especially when there is a guy in the restaurant's back room, funneling Charles Shaw red into the hoidy-toidy Bordeaux bottles that go out to the tables....

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: No point "wining" about the mistake...

      If you can't tell the difference between 2 buck chuck and any Bordeaux, stick to beer.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: No point "wining" about the mistake...

        On the other hand, there is a VERY good reason that Charles Shaw's "two buck Chuck" Chardonnay won two gold medals and 98 points at the California State Fair in 2007 ... It was the only true Chardonnay that actually tasted like Chardonnay[0]! Not a perfect bottle of wine, perhaps. But it's mass-produced, cheap, and drinkable. And you can cook with it (there are no off-flavo(u)rs magnified by reduction). I usually have a couple dozen cases in my wine cellar ... I can't make a decent, drinkable, cooking wine cheaper than Fred Franzia does.

        I'll often decant a bottle or two of Chuck when being visited by wine snobs, telling them "this is an experiment, let me know what you think". They assume it's a blend that I'm playing with, and invariably they ask if they can purchase a case or three. The look on their faces when I tell 'em what it actually is is priceless :-)

        [0] In other words, not that "big, buttery, oaky" crap that people think California Chardonnay is supposed to taste of. I don't know about y'all, but sautéed splinters isn't a flavo(u)r that I crave ...

        1. Alterhase

          Re: No point "wining" about the mistake...

          Fred Franzia, whose winery produces "two-buck Chuck" (now $2.99 in California), once said something along the lines of "Anything over $10 a bottle for wine is marketing."

          I have held blind wine tasting parties for friends, and over a group of people,there is little or no correlation between price and perceived quality.

          I don't pay more than $10 a bottle for the wine I drink every day, and I can tell that $100 a bottle wine is "better", but it's not worth 10 times more to me....

    2. jmch Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: No point "wining" about the mistake...

      "Especially when there is a guy in the restaurant's back room, funneling Charles Shaw red into the hoidy-toidy Bordeaux bottles that go out to the tables"

      Well that's why restaurants open wine bottles at the table

    3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: No point "wining" about the mistake...

      in the restaurant's back room, funneling Charles Shaw red into the hoidy-toidy Bordeaux

      Commonly known as 'fraud' and something that Trading Standards get very, very upset about. Much like pubs who take cheap blended whisky and put it into single-malt bottles on the basis that a lot of customers won't know the difference..

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who is this Neal Martin guy? I just looked up his guides and I can't find Lambrini. If you want to be taken seriously then you need to taste the classics. It a light wine that leaves a foreboding warning on the palate, goes rather well with a scotch egg.

  13. Natalie Gritpants Jr

    The laughable thing about wine

    is that you can't test your investment without pissing it up the wall. You can test your paintings, sculptures, ferrarii etc but once you open the bottle to try it out the countdown to vinegar begins. Don't give me any of that "buy a case" nonsense, the interbottle variability means the variation in worth of the unopened bottles is +10% -90%.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: The laughable thing about wine

      Sound advice. This is why I stick to meths -- you kno excatly what you;re gettin ever tiem

    2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: The laughable thing about wine

      I believe there are now ways of getting wine out of the bottle without oxygenating the rest now.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: The laughable thing about wine

        If you really just want a sip out of that expensive bottle, you'd do well to look into the Coravin system ... Most of us use one or another of their products. Note that this isn't built for cheap $30 supermarket plonk. It's a professional tool, built for professionals.

        coravin.com ... I am in no way affiliated, just a happy customer.

    3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: The laughable thing about wine

      the countdown to vinegar begins

      Which is why I (used to[1]) drink LBV Port rather than Vintage. At least the LBV Port can go a couple of days without becoming expensive vinegar..

      [1] Pre-diabetes. Too much sugar in Port for me to drink it now, except on special occasions.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The laughable thing about wine

        At least the LBV Port can go a couple of days without becoming expensive vinegar..

        Try Madeira as an alternative, keeps 1 month - 1 year after opening, depending on the style.

  14. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

    If the customer didn't notice

    Then what would be stopping the manager from just grabbing a bottle of the 260 GBP stuff, a funnel, and the empty bottle of the 4500 GBP stuff and recouping their losses? Although the cynical part of my brain is pretty sure that has already happened with the 260 GBP bottle...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If the customer didn't notice

      Because when you're paying through the nose for wine at a restaurant, they tend to have the decency to let you see the unopened bottle first and open it in front of you.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: If the customer didn't notice

        *sigh* I remember the days they used to do that with boxed software...

        *splutter* GAH! This copy of Photoshop is corked, by God!

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: If the customer didn't notice

          This copy of Photoshop is corked

          And, for the non-wine drinkers amongst us, 'corked' doesn't refer to having bits of cork floating in the wine (which sometimes happens if you are clumsy with the corkscrew) but that the wine cork has failed and let air into the wine - which then allows the wine to turn into vinegar. And not pleasant vinegar either..

          Which is why wine bottles are stored on their side so that the wine keeps the cork moist - if stored upright the cork will (over a long time) dry out and crumble or crack.

      2. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

        Re: If the customer didn't notice

        How does the customer know the bottle hasn't been opened already? I can go buy a couple corks and some sticky-backed metallic foil for a couple bucks. I could replicate a wax seal seal with minimal effort. Unless the customer is some expert and is spending hours to study it (Made more difficult since the restaurant is going to be dimly lit), they aren't even going to notice even the most blatant of deceptions.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: If the customer didn't notice

          You can tell if a cork's only been in the bottle for five minutes or ten years.

          Corks in old wines are often a right bastard to get out.

          1. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

            Re: If the customer didn't notice

            In that case you instruct the waiter to put on a show, "Struggling" to pull the cork out.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If the customer didn't notice

          Sticky stuff.

          There have been instances of relabelling being discovered.

        3. jake Silver badge

          Re: If the customer didn't notice

          COG ...it's not worth the risk. If you have amassed a large collection of spendy bottles of plonk and you get busted just once swapping the good stuff for cheap, or relabeling, or trying to change a year on a vintage, or otherwise counterfeiting wine, your name will be mud in the industry, and your entire collection will be suspect, nullifying the value.

          It has happened. It's not pretty. Fortunately it's about as rare as hen's teeth.

          1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

            Re: If the customer didn't notice

            And has a fine and distinguished history: from Mark Twain's A Tramp Abroad (1880)

            Mr. X. had ordered the dinner, and when the wine came on, he picked up a bottle, glanced at the label, and then turned to the grave, the melancholy, the sepulchral head waiter and said it was not the sort of wine he had asked for. The head waiter picked up the bottle, cast his undertaker-eye on it and said,—

            "It is true; I beg pardon." Then he turned on his subordinate and calmly said, "Bring another label."

            At the same time he slid the present label off with his hand and laid it aside; it had been newly put on, its paste, was still wet. When the new label came, he put it on; our French wine being now turned into German wine, according to desire, the head waiter went blandly about his other duties, as if the working of this sort of miracle was a common and easy thing to him.

            Mr. X. said he had not known, before, that there were people honest enough to do this miracle in public, but he was aware that thousands upon thousands of labels were imported into America from Europe every year, to enable dealers to furnish to their customers in a quiet and inexpensive way, all the different kinds of foreign wines they might require.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: If the customer didn't notice

              I rather suspect you've missed the point of SLC's satire, Mr. Barnes. The point not being the fine, old art of wine fraud, but rather that the Europeans were well known to try to put one over on the rubes from America ... but the Americans were actually well aware of such fraud, and were not the rubes the Europeans assumed them to be.

              Plus ça change ...

  15. cirby

    De gustibus non est disputandum

    A number of years ago, a rich and showy wine connoisseur customer bought us wine for a stupidly-expensive dinner, for some reason or other.

    He started with a "cheap" $100 bottle, then moved to a "good" $500 bottle, and finished off with "his favorite" $1100 bottle.

    The "cheap" one was my favorite, and even he admitted that the expensive one wasn't immensely better, and that most $30 bottles are pretty good nowadays.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: De gustibus non est disputandum

      The wine types I know say to drink it the other way... start expensive and end cheap.

      My brother-in-law who is a vodka connoisseur (this concept surprised me) says the same thing....

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Re: De gustibus non est disputandum

        I go expensive > cheap ( where expensive means £10 and cheap means £5 ).

        You can't really taste the third bottle anyway.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: De gustibus non est disputandum

        As a wine maker, I say drink the wine that you like, and ignore the so-called "experts". Seriously, if you really enjoy a particular $10 bottle of Supermarket plonk, who is to tell you that you are wrong? They are your taste buds, not the expert's.

        (The wine snobs around here (Sonoma, CA) hate me. I'm OK with that.)

      3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: De gustibus non est disputandum

        start expensive and end cheap

        T'was always thus - the turning of the water to wine in the Bible contains the line about the host of the wedding feast being surprised that the previously water now wine is so much finer since "everyone always starts with the best wine"..

        So we've known this for at least 2000 years - actually, more likely ever since wine was invented.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: De gustibus non est disputandum

      He started with a "cheap" $100 bottle, then moved to a "good" $500 bottle, and finished off with "his favorite" $1100 bottle

      Of course, the irony is that the first two bottles will have ruined his palette for the very expensive wine. But then we all know he's doing it just to give the appearance of sophistication anyway..

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: De gustibus non est disputandum

        Sorry - it has just got too much. The correct word is "palate", not "palette". I haven't noticed a correct spelling in this entire thread, and I just have to speak out!

  16. STOP_FORTH
    Happy

    Did this actually happen?

    Or have el Reg fallen for a marketing scam? I now know of the existence of a restaurant which I was previously unaware of. I also know they serve expensive and stupidly expensive wine. Customer name not mentioned and free advertising even on tech sites.

    I thought journos were supposed to be a cynical bunch?

    Icon - happy grape.

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      Re: Did this actually happen?

      What I find particularly hard to believe is that when a wine bottle is served, especially if it cost more than a 100£, it it usually presented to the client before opening, a bit for show but mainly for confirmation that it was really what was asked. I doubt the waiter (surely not the sommelier) would have skipped that step...

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Did this actually happen?

        I doubt the step was skipped. People make mistakes.

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: Did this actually happen?

          Or the customer didn't actually know what s/he was ordering, and just accepted what was presented.

  17. zb42

    A relevant study

    There is an interesting paper on the subject of the link between the cost of wine and how much people enjoy it when they don't know how much it costs.

    "In a sample of more than 6,000 blind tastings, we find that the correlation between price and overall rating is small and negative, suggesting that individuals on average enjoy more expensive wines slightly less."

    Link to the paper:

    Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better? Evidence from a Large Sample of Blind Tastings

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: A relevant study

      That is quite an interesting paper and it comes back to the same point that while we might assume the wine you should by is the one you actually enjoy, not what someone else said you should, in reality the expectation/marketing can reverse that.

    2. MiguelC Silver badge

      Re: A relevant study

      I experienced that once. A quite expensive wine was ordered by mistake (at the time we had no idea what it was and the person who chose it misread the price).

      When the check came and the wine's price was made obvious, we all drank what was left of it, now experiencing what such an expensive wine tasted like. Not that we hadn't tasted it before (and liked it), but the feeling was quite different salvaging those last precious drops from our glasses.

      1. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: A relevant study

        The Scottish description for that is, "It tastes better when it's grudged".

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: A relevant study

          "It tastes better when it's grudged"

          "But tastes even better if it's free".

    3. Amentheist
      Angel

      Re: A relevant study

      What's the point of a blind study when a lot of the whole experience comes from buying it / status / being at a posh restaurant.

      PS didn't read the study, just wrote a comment, we're on the internet afterall.

  18. TRT Silver badge

    To be brutally honest...

    This kind of thing wouldn't ever happen to me, because I'd never be forking out £260 for a bottle of plonk in the first place, let alone £4,500. In fact, £26 would be pushing the limit for me - have to be a very special occasion to warrant even that much - and then it would have to be one of the ones with bubbles in it, which I've heard can be quite expensive. Most of the time, when perusing the wine list, the only sound is a tiny exhalation of disbelief followed by "Just a jug of tap water, please."

  19. smudge Silver badge
    WTF?

    Like hell "the customer didn't know"!

    In any restaurant I have been to - from a humble Beefeater upwards - the customer is always shown the bottle before it is opened, to check that it is what they ordered.

    I suspect that this customer knew damn well, and took a punt which came off.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Like hell "the customer didn't know"!

      Probably not. The mid-range bottles at restaurants are usually ordered by people who are trying to impress somebody(s), but actually the silly prats have no idea what they are purchasing.

      (I'm in the business ... I hear stories.)

  20. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Pint

    A tough decision

    A bottle of wine or a pint of beer a night for the next three years?

    I know which I'd choose.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: A tough decision

      For 4,500 quid, you could build a near-professional three stage homebrew setup (including kegging and temperature control) and have several pints of beer every night for the next 5 or 6 years (depending on the cost of ingredients in your area).

      1. TRT Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: A tough decision

        Here's hoping.

  21. Bob Wheeler

    The problem...

    If you order an expensive bottle of wine...

    1) You hate it and have wasted your money

    2) You love it and want a second bottle

  22. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Filter

    I bought my mum a wine filter that removes the sulphite preservatives, as cheap wine make me ill. It works, improves the taste too.

    It seems the restaurant shouldn't have blabbed about this on social media though. It's just advertising to every crook and conman that it carries £4,500 wines. Watch the third season of Sneaky Pete if you want to know how this ends.

  23. vapourEyz

    Facepalm !

    I looked at the title and thought what the hell has GNU done now...

  24. Amentheist
    Joke

    Eeeer

    It's grim up noorf?

  25. AIBailey Silver badge

    Should have gone with an Australian wine...

    A lot of people in this country pooh-pooh Australian table wines. This is a pity, as many fine Australian wines appeal not only to the Australian palette, but also to the cognoscenti of Great Britain.

    'Black stump Bordeaux' is rightly praised as a peppermint flavoured Burgundy, whilst a good 'Sydney Syrup' can rank with any of the world's best sugary wines.

    'Chateau Bleu', too, has won many prizes; not least for its taste, and its lingering afterburn.

    'Old Smokey, 1968' has been compared favourably to a Welsh claret, whilst the Australian wino society thouroughly recommends a 1970 'Coq du Rod Laver', which, believe me, has a kick on it like a mule: 8 bottles of this, and you're really finished -- at the opening of the Sydney Bridge Club, they were fishing them out of the main sewers every half an hour.

    Of the sparkling wines, the most famous is 'Perth Pink'. This is a bottle with a message in, and the message is BEWARE!. This is not a wine for drinking -- this is a wine for laying down and avoiding.

    Another good fighting wine is 'Melbourne Old-and-Yellow', which is particularly heavy, and should be used only for hand-to-hand combat.

    Quite the reverse is true of 'Chateau Chunder', which is an Appalachian controle, specially grown for those keen on regurgitation -- a fine wine which really opens up the sluices at both ends.

    Real emetic fans will also go for a 'Hobart Muddy', and a prize winning 'Cuiver Reserve Chateau Bottled Nuit San Wogga Wogga', which has a bouquet like an aborigine's armpit.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Should have gone with an Australian wine...

      Most people who hang out around here know where that came from, and quite a few probably have it memorized ... but for the few who may not be in the know, wouldn't it be nice to properly quote and cite it?

      1. AIBailey Silver badge
        Happy

        For those few who may not be in the know...

        As Monty Python memorably said (read it in a heavy Australian accent) -

        "A lot of people in this country pooh-pooh Australian table wines. This is a pity, as many fine Australian wines appeal not only to the Australian palette, but also to the cognoscenti of Great Britain.

        'Black stump Bordeaux' is rightly praised as a peppermint flavoured Burgundy, whilst a good 'Sydney Syrup' can rank with any of the world's best sugary wines.

        'Chateau Bleu', too, has won many prizes; not least for its taste, and its lingering afterburn.

        'Old Smokey, 1968' has been compared favourably to a Welsh claret, whilst the Australian wino society thouroughly recommends a 1970 'Coq du Rod Laver', which, believe me, has a kick on it like a mule: 8 bottles of this, and you're really finished -- at the opening of the Sydney Bridge Club, they were fishing them out of the main sewers every half an hour.

        Of the sparkling wines, the most famous is 'Perth Pink'. This is a bottle with a message in, and the message is BEWARE!. This is not a wine for drinking -- this is a wine for laying down and avoiding.

        Another good fighting wine is 'Melbourne Old-and-Yellow', which is particularly heavy, and should be used only for hand-to-hand combat.

        Quite the reverse is true of 'Chateau Chunder', which is an Appalachian controle, specially grown for those keen on regurgitation -- a fine wine which really opens up the sluices at both ends.

        Real emetic fans will also go for a 'Hobart Muddy', and a prize winning 'Cuiver Reserve Chateau Bottled Nuit San Wogga Wogga', which has a bouquet like an aborigine's armpit."

        1. STOP_FORTH
          Happy

          Re: For those few who may not be in the know...

          I seem to recall there was another wine on that list.

          1. AIBailey Silver badge

            Re: For those few who may not be in the know...

            Hmm, I'm not sure. It matches the audio on "The Final Rip-off" that I have here.

            1. STOP_FORTH

              Re: For those few who may not be in the know...

              That's interesting. A brief wander around the Internet reveals the exact same text (ignoring mistranscriptions, spelling mistakes etc.)

              My recollection is from the LP record track (don't know which one, I had about five I think).

              These sometimes differed from the original TV scripts.

              Anyway, I thought there was a wine called "Legaupna" or something similar. (Googling this spelling does not reveal anything.) The fact that I recall the spelling must mean it was on the sleeve notes as well as the record.

              I assumed you had censored yourself, sorry.

              Maybe it was a different sketch, maybe I am just mistaken, maybe someone in the Doctor Who thread went back about fifty years and altered the script?

              I am genuinely puzzled, but too lazy to go in the loft and see if there is any kind of record player up there.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    palate/palette/pallet

    Your “palate” is the roof of your mouth, and by extension, your sense of taste. A “palette” is the flat board an artist mixes paint on (or by extension, a range of colors). A “pallet” is either a bed (now rare) or a flat platform onto which goods are loaded.

    https://brians.wsu.edu/2016/05/30/palate-palette-pallet/

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nasty suspicious minds..

    might want a little more detail about the manager 'that picked up on what happened', just to be crystal clear on exactly who got what and when...

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019