April 15, 2013

In $40,000 cocktail, ruby delivers bling

By Meredith Goad mgoad@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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click image to enlarge

The White Barn Inn in Kennebunk will offer a $40,000 Ruby Rose cocktail starting June 1. A real 4-carat ruby, about the size of this fake one, will be put in the glass.

Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

The 1973 bottle's allure is enhanced by the fact that the wine was made the same year that Bob Sessions, winemaker emeritus at Hanzell, began his 28-year career there, so this is his first vintage. "This gentleman is an icon when it comes to American-style pinot noir," Swinford said.

The wine comes from Hanzell Estate's private cellar and is not sold on the open market, which increases its value.

"I have called multiple, multiple restaurants, some in Manhattan, and a wide variety of master sommeliers, and said, 'If you had this bottle on your wine list, what could you sell it for?' " Swinford said. "And usually, it's 'Whatever I want because no one is able to get it.' The market for this wine is nonexistent. It is its own market."

Even the winemaker at Hanzell is unsure how much the bottle is worth.

"I couldn't tell you what the value on the market would be, but I can certainly tell you that it's a special bottle of wine," said Michael McNeill, director of winemaking at Hanzell. "Quite frankly, all the Hanzell wines from the late '60s and early '70s have been fantastic. We still do have wines here in the cellar dating back to '65. We have all the vintages of our chardonnay and pinot noir going back that far. They are still very, very much alive, and just fantastic to drink."

Once word about the wine gets out, it's likely a few oenophiles will set their sights on it and come prepared to bid, and bid often.

The cocktail's future is less certain. Are there a lot of folks out there willing to throw down 40 large for a single martini?

As your mama always told you, it only takes one.

"When it comes to requests with engagements, anniversaries, birthdays, we do have some guests where the sky's the limit," Swinford said. " 'For my other half, there's no price for her love.'

"We do get a lot of that."

Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:



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