The one hundred and twenty-three euro bottle of wine

I was prowling around in a wine shop in Paris in October, looking at the pretty liqueur bottles, when I heard the proprietor say, “That’ll be 123 euros.”

I was curious to see what cost 123 euros, so I came around, and saw –

A single bottle of wine.

The buyers were an older couple, probably around my age. I’d heard them a few minutes before, asking the proprietor advice on what to buy.

Evidently the proprietor had conned them into buying this gold-plated bottle of nectar. “So,” he said. “This is for dinner tonight, you said? What time?”

“Around seven,” the husband said, a little nervously. “Maybe seven-thirty.”

“It makes a difference,” the proprietor said huffily. “Are you going to drink the whole bottle tonight? You should. It won’t be good tomorrow, if you open it tonight.”

“No, of course not,” the husband said, and he and his wife both giggled nervously, and glanced at me, as if to say: Isn’t this fun?

“All right,” the proprietor said. “I’ll open it right now. You come back in ten or fifteen minutes, and I’ll recork it. If you serve it at seven – or even seven-fifteen – it’ll be just right. No later than that, mind you. All right?”

“All right,” the couple said meekly.

And they paid their one-hundred-and-twenty-three euro, and they left.

I noticed that the proprietor was in no hurry to decant their wine after they left. He turned and waited on me, and we chatted for a while. (He told me that it was too much trouble, too much micmac, to ship things to the USA, what with the duty fees and the paperwork.)

And, as I left, I glanced back and saw the one hundred and twenty-three euro bottle of wine sitting on the counter, glowing with promise.

I hope it was worth the money. I hope it changed the lives of the people who drank it.

Or at least that it wasn’t as sour as hell.

About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

3 Responses to The one hundred and twenty-three euro bottle of wine

  1. starproms says:

    I’m not a wine drinker so I can’t really comment. To me all wine tastes like vinegar, unfortunately. Interesting story though.

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