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Pre-auction tasting - what to expect?

ryanandjess May 15, 2008 10:44 AM

Hi Chowhounds, I just saw info for a pre-auction tasting that sounds too good to be true. Or maybe it's just subsidized to get the big spenders feeling good before the auction starts? I've never been to an auction (and don't plan on staying past the tasting for this one), or to a tasting linked to an auction. Here's the deal: it's $60 per person, and then says
Wines to be poured at the May tasting will include:
then lists, among about 30 wines:
66, 67, and 75 Latour
1985 Sassicaia
1955 Chateau Cheval Blanc
1966 Chateau Margaux
1970 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild

I'm only a budding wine lover, so I'm not going to pretend to know much about the wines listed, but I know how to google and can see that several of the bottles listed retail in the neighborhood of $400-$1,000 or more. So is this a tasting like I'm used to, where I stroll from table to table tasting whichever (and as many) of these wines I want? Or is there a catch?

I mean, I'd love to try some of these classic wines, I'm just skeptical that I can actually do so (and so many!) for $60.

Here's the link:


  1. r
    RicRios May 15, 2008 10:58 AM

    "stroll from table to table tasting whichever (and as many) of these wines I want"

    Well, not quite.
    Usual pre-auction tasting modus operandi is:
    a) just ONE 750 ml bottle ea.
    b) big names will go down in a blink of an eye
    c) be there the moment they start, as far ahead in the queue as you can possibly make it
    d) beware of ladies with big hats

    5 Replies
    1. re: RicRios
      maria lorraine May 15, 2008 12:04 PM

      Excellent! All true, especially that blink of an eye thing.

      1. re: maria lorraine
        ryanandjess May 15, 2008 12:16 PM

        OK, so if I get there early I would possibly get to taste my pick of ONE of the stratospheric-priced wines, then several tastes of the Ridge-type wines? Or is the whole tasting finished in just a few minutes?

        1. re: ryanandjess
          RicRios May 15, 2008 01:06 PM

          Don't worry, plenty of time for the crappy stuff.

          1. re: ryanandjess
            maria lorraine May 15, 2008 01:13 PM

            This probably isn't a strolling-around kind of tasting, to use your words.

            And, without a crystal ball, it's difficult to determine how long any of the wines will last before they're gone. ERI will certainly favor serving registered bidders on the auction lots vs. tasters only, so even if you're not intending to bid, you might want to look the part.

            There's a chance you will be disappointed in this type of tasting. Not only because the wines may be gone, but it's likely even the bidders will get micro-pours, more to evaluate color, oxidation and the "health" of the wine, and not so much flavor. A phone call to ERI can give you more specifics about the tasting and how it's conducted.

            1. re: maria lorraine
              ryanandjess May 15, 2008 01:56 PM

              Thanks to both of you; that's ,sadly, about what I expected. Just had to ask on the chance that the replies went "Shhh! Pre-auction tastings are the luscious, secret way to taste crazy-good wines."

              Doesn't sound like it'd be worth my Sunday morning, nor my $60. I'll go buy a nice bottle instead.

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