Log In / Join Now

High Priced Wine Life in LA LA

Posted: Nov 10, 2006 1:14pm ET

From your comments on yesterday’s blog, I am carrying on the genre in the spirit of all good and bad writers in Los Angeles. So this is how my day began.

I decided to forgo Starbucks this morning in LA and head down to a coffee shop on Beverly Boulevard called Swingers. It’s a down and dirty place for breaky, and I much prefer the tattooed women waitresses in biker boots than the baristas at Starbucks. The coffee there is solid American type in mugs and not the watery-fast-food sort at Starbucks. It’s like comparing a glass of Hermitage to Beaujolais Nouveau. The huevos rancheros are good too!

Anyway, I finished my breakfast after reading in the Los Angeles Times about the Democrat’s impressive wine (I mean win) in the elections – I have a one-track mind even though I wrote about politics before this gig – and, heading back to my hotel, I decided to contemplate another mega wine buy, the type that Jay-Z or Russell Crowe or even Paris Hilton might contemplate for the weekend to hang with their friends and enjoy a long one. I mean, these people are icons here in Los Angeles, my birthplace and the city I love. So what if they weren’t born here? That’s like most people in LA.

So I was wondering what they might like to drink. And obviously it has to be obscenely expensive. So I decided to Google a few things to see what I could come up with for them. How about “most expensive wine on earth?” That seems simple enough. I don’t get it. The first listing is “Forbes 10 most expensive homes.” Of course, these days the most expensive wine on earth could be very close in price to the most expensive house on earth, but Google is really letting me down here. Thank God I don’t have to pay for this.

Hmmm. How about “big buck red?” What?  “Welcome to Cornell Dining.” THIS IS NOT WHAT I AM LOOKING FORRRR…. If Jay-Z was next to me now, I would be in deep…and by the way, Jay-Z and I are not dining together at Cornell University. HELLO.

May be I should try something a little more Russell Crowe: “Horrifically Expensive Australian Wine.”  Nothing. Yes, nothing.  I am starting to question why anyone in his or her right mind would buy stock in Google. What crap.

What about Paris? She likes to hang down at Koi, the flashy sushi venue full of beautiful and expensive blondes. Come on. She must only drink Champagne, like Pamela Anderson and Posh Beckham, similar women of great taste. Google this: “really expensive cham pain.” A story on industrial hygiene comes up on my screen.

Okay. I have had enough of this Google stuff. I am going straight to Zachy’s, the famous New York wine shop. And I am going to search for what should be super expensive, Domaine de la Romanee Conti.  Just a week or two ago a case of 1990 DRC RC sold for $161,325. Zachy’s must be able to match that on-line. Come on. If not, I am going to call Zachy himself and ask him to raise his prices more.

Here goes….z.a.c.h.y.s.w.i.n.e. Ecco la! I am now typing Domaine de la Romanee Conti in the Find box.

There are only two entries: a case of 2002 Grands Echezeaux for $8,550 and a case of 2002 Romanee St. Vivant for $10,260. What a disappointment!  I can’t spend so little and expect anyone serious in LA to take me seriously. What is a wine lover to do?

This has been another upsetting day in Los Angeles. I need to talk to my therapist. Or at least get some prescription drugs from my doctor to calm me down.

Guus Hateboer
Netherlands —  November 10, 2006 2:41pm ET
James, you MUST write a book. Soon! I'll fly over to have my copy signed. I'm a fan, oh yes! Keep it going...
James Stuart
Los Angeles, CA —  November 10, 2006 2:53pm ET
James,I am sure there are many more expensive wines out there, but the LA croud could shop locally and pick up the following at one store(750ml bottles, not sure if cases are avaiable):1947 Latour e Pomerol ($10K),1961 Latour e Pomerol ($10K),1950 Petrus ($9500),1948 Petrus ($9500),1928 Latour ($9K),1929 Latour ($7500),1959 Latour e Pomerol ($5K),1949 Cheval Blanc ($5K).Eight bottles for about $65K would be the start to a good Hollywood party (actually, probably more like a dinner for them).
John Battista
November 10, 2006 3:49pm ET
another excellent example of how superficial beauty, aside from the real beauty of the "Swinger" waitresses, and light misery forge creativity and sarcasm. i cannot imagine the flow of your words above being written in tuscan air.... l a gives you a more jaded, bukowsky flow. question - does italy have personalities promote wine as we do here? and what wine do you think "zampano" was drinking in "la strada"?
Lisa Ruyter
Vienna Austria —  November 10, 2006 4:55pm ET
in the spirit of Jay-Z's boycott of Cristal, perhaps it is easier to pick what you will not be having with Russell and Paris this weekend. Jay-Z has an Ace up his sleeve. Paris apparently likes hers in a can - google 'Paris Hilton sparkling in a can'
Tim Sylvester
Santa Monica, CA —  November 10, 2006 5:30pm ET
James--Go to Wally's Wines or 20/20 Wines, both on the westside, and you'll find quite the supply of trophies over $1,000 per bottle. I'm sure Steve Wallace at Wally's has a few bottles of DRC/DRC in the back waiting for you. Cheers, Tim
Jason Thompson
Foster City, CA —  November 10, 2006 7:47pm ET
James,Go to froogle.com, type in bordeaux, then type in a price parameter of $20K to $75K. I got a bottle of 1950 Petrus (5liter...didn't know they made that size) for $50K...how is that. If you try to go up anymore than that, you get a bunch of bordeux colored ferrari's.http://froogle.google.com/froogle?q=bordeaux&hl=en&btnG=Search&lnk=pruser&hl=en&price1=20%2C000.00&price2=75%2C000.00&btnP=Go
Bob Golbahar
Los Angeles —  November 10, 2006 8:06pm ET
James,Bring your corporate "Black Platinum American Express" and I am sure I can find you a case of trophy wines, i.e.... Case of 1947 Petrus Magnums bought on release for a small sum of 165k, 6-magnums of 1990 DRC, RC original banded case for a small sum of 220K. Let me know ahead of time, as we need to pick them up at the owners 35k foot "Mansion" Best, Bob Golbahar @ Twenty-Twenty Wine Merchants
Danapat Promphan
Bangkok, Thailand —  November 11, 2006 12:12am ET

I'm not sure if you have even been to Cornell. But as a graduate, I have to say we have one of the best dining service in the country... for cafeteria standard that is (and a reasonable price too). So, if you change your mind, I can join you and Jay-Z at Big Red dining.

Kirk R. Grant
Ellsworth, ME —  November 11, 2006 8:28am ET
James...it sounds as if you have hit rock bottom. Why don't you drop me a line the next time you are in New England & I'll be happy to take you around to the few hidden spots that still have 2000 1st growths for under $500. Or Maybe you're prefer to find an 89 Lafite Rothschild for an even $300. Yep...there are still deals out there...now I just need to money to snap them up
Tarun Rihal
Toronto, —  November 11, 2006 1:14pm ET
James, I believe this may be what you were looking for:http://www.forbes.com/2003/11/19/cx_np_1119feat.htmlAnd even MORE interesting ...http://www.forbes.com/2006/02/10/expensive-wine-bordeaux-cx_po_0210autofacescan08.html
H Leah Amir
Los Angeles, CA —  November 12, 2006 11:15pm ET
James, the funny thing is most celeberties don't know much about wine other than cristal. They will go to a restaurant and order the most expensive bottle on the list just to be cool(It's pretty funny.) If you want good wine go to either Du Vin or Woodland Hills Wine Co. there is plenty of great wine in these knowledgeable stores. 20/20 is overpriced I wouldn't dare go in there. I work in the business I know!
Jason Fernandez
Boston, MA —  November 13, 2006 8:40am ET
FYI... Jay-Z uses "Opus One" as part of a verse in his new single... hope that helps your search!
James Suckling
 —  November 13, 2006 11:47am ET
Jason: Give me the verse brother...!

Would you like to comment? Want to join or start a discussion?

Become a WineSpectator.com member and you can!
To protect the quality of our conversations, only members may submit comments. Member benefits include access to more than 315,000 reviews in our Wine Ratings Search; a first look at ratings in our Insider, Advance and Tasting Highlights; Value Wines; the Personal Wine List/My Cellar tool, hundreds of wine-friendly recipes and more.

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.