No 'Trophies' In Bush Wine Cellar

It may not sound like a lot of money to oenophiles, but the $135 Peter Michael Les Pavots that White House Food and Beverage Manager Daniel Shanks likes to serve at formal affairs is about as high as he'll go for a bottle. As Shanks explains in the upcoming issue of White House History, he tries to be frugal. And, he fesses, "trophy wines" sometimes disappoint.

So why do the uppity wines show up at restaurants so often? Here the former manager of Napa Valley's Domaine Chandon restaurant blows the whistle on the competition. "One reason you see many of these famous wines on restaurant wine lists is the return on the investment they provide the restaurant from their perceived scarcity. It is not always because they provide the best company for the menu." Pricey wines can provide a bang during a fancy night out, he says. But "most of us can also recall countless more surprises with more reasonably priced selections.

By Paul Bedard