How a restaurant accidentally served a customer a £4,500 bottle of wine

Mistakes can happen
Mistakes can happen

Colin Burbidge, of Lancashire Wine School writes about a pricey mistake made by a waiter where one lucky diner enjoyed an expensive bottle of red.

Would you tell the waiter if you were served you the wrong wine?

The big wine news over the past week is the error made by a waiter at The Hawksmoor restaurant in Manchester.

A couple had ordered the very nice Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2001 at £260.

This is a Bordeaux wine, from what we call the left bank where red wines are usually blends of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot and other grape varieties.

All but one of the 60 great chateau wines, the Grande Cru Classé are based in this region with three of the top six, the ‘First Growths’ coming from the Pauillac sub-region.

So, to choose a wine from one of its neighbours is not a bad bet.

This particular wine is in fact 50 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon, 36 per cent Merlot and 14 per cent Petit Verdot and comes from a second growth chateau so it’s in the top 20 Bordeaux producers.

Not bad considering there are nearly 8,000 producers in Bordeaux.

This lucky couple however were given the wrong wine.

The busy waiter brought them a Chateau le Pin Pomerol 2001 at £4,500 on the wine list.

This is a right bank Bordeaux wine where, due to the cooler climate, Merlot rules the roost.

It is in fact 92 per cent Merlot and 8 per cent Cabernet Franc.

So, if you know your wines, you’d probably spot the difference in taste, assuming you hadn’t bothered to check the label.

The Le Pin vineyard is only five acres with on average just 600 cases produced every year.

According to the news report, just 500 cases of this vintage were produced.

So little wonder it carries a super-premium price.

Still the lucky couple sipped through the wine and even tried to order another bottle.

But unfortunately there was none left in stock.

Staff only realised the mistake when they cleared the table - whoops!

Hawksmoor founder Will Beckett said a manager from another branch had been helping out and offered to find the wine for a waitress.

But, in her hurry, picked the wrong bottle.

An expensive mistake that would leave anyone mortified whether you’re the culprit, the manager or the owner.

The Hawksmoor management response was so refreshing as they posted on Twitter after the discovery.

“To the customer who accidentally got given a bottle of Chateau le Pin Pomerol 2001, which is £4,500 on our menu, last night - hope you enjoyed your evening.

“To the member of staff who accidentally gave it away, chin up.

“One-off mistakes happen and we love you anyway.”

A generous and understanding response.

Don’t you wish all bosses were like that.

Of course Hawksmoor can take some solace in the massive amount of publicity they’ve received.

Some potentially new customers requesting the shift pattern of the errant manager be published so they can make their booking accordingly?

Have you ever been served the wrong wine?

It happened to me once in Barcelona, the 28€ wine was very nice but not as special as Le Pin.