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New York's Montrachet Offers BYOB Mondays

Tribeca restaurant gives diners free corkage and the chance to win discounts on wine with a blind-tasting game.

Keith Scott
Posted: May 29, 2003

Montrachet is one of New York's finest restaurants for wine, boasting a Wine Spectator Grand Award—winning cellar with nearly 1,500 choices. Now it's gotten even better: Every Monday, wine lovers can bring their own bottles and not pay a corkage fee.

Daniel Johnnes, wine director of the upscale Tribeca eatery, said the idea came to him during the most recent La Paulée de New York, a gala event celebrating the wines of Burgundy. "I just saw the atmosphere of sharing and discovery and conviviality, and asked myself, 'Why can't we do this on a more intimate scale, at the restaurant?'"

The new policy is especially unique because Montrachet does not allow diners to bring their own bottles on other days of the week. "Hopefully, this will inspire people to bring out some special bottles that they wouldn't normally drink," said Johnnes. "And people will share their wines with diners at other tables, swapping glasses of the wines they've brought."

Another new twist in Montrachet's wine program is the "What's My Wine?" game. Diners give a price range and a color to their sommelier, who selects a wine to be tasted blind, along with a game card listing five categories: region, appellation, varietal, vintage and producer. The more categories the diner can guess correctly, the more the wine price is discounted. One correct answer nets a 20 percent discount, while getting all five right results in a free bottle.

While no one has yet aced the test, diners have gotten as many as four answers correct. Johnnes said, "It's fun, it saves money and it's educational."

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