Near the famed wine city of Bordeaux, the small French vineyard Château Le Pin makes just about 500 cases of wine per year. Those bottles command up to $6,000 each, and they're so desired that wine critic James Suckling once called the experience of tasting every vintage "a dream fulfilled." For the vast majority of people, pretty much any bottle of Le Pin would result in some level of financial setback, and you’d probably want to sip it with some intention.
Alas, at a British steakhouse, the pricey investment of Le Pin Pomerol 2001 was sunk by a server's misreading of the labels. According to the menu of Hawksmoor's Manchester location, that bottle—which holds an average critic rating of 93 out of 100—should pull in £4,500, or just about US $5,760, making it the most expensive of the restaurant's wine "rarities." Yesterday, however, one lucky diner had the chance to sip it for just a tiny fraction of that price.
The guest had ordered Chateau Pichon Longueville Contesse de Lalande 2001—a defensible wine in itself, though the "budget" choice by comparison at £260, or US $333. But, as a spokesperson for Hawksmoor shared in a statement, "It was a very busy night at the restaurant and a very simple mistake. A member of staff picked up the wrong bottle, mistaking it for another Bordeaux of the same vintage… The customer didn’t know and it was only afterwards that one of the managers picked up what had happened."
The two bottles, the restaurant acknowledged, do look kinda similar. And it didn't get totally shafted: The customer did pay for the cheaper bottle, though it seems they weren't told in person the real price of what they were drinking.
The restaurant has publicly forgiven the manager responsible for the mix-up in a tweet, but she's "obviously mortified," Hawksmoor's co-founder Will Beckett told the Guardian. "I’m fairly sure she’s not gonna do it again."
Sounds like as good a time as any to use one of those sick days. Cough, cough.