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Cutting Back in These Lean Times

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Here I am, fresh back from Italy and Slovenia, and what do I find but the news (thanks, CNN) that while I was sipping and spitting biodynamic Sauvignon Blanc in a humble little cellar in Slovenia's Karst region, the world leaders hanging about in DC last Friday were slurping down 2003 Shafer Hillside Select (about $250, contrary to CNN; click to find the wine) at a White House dinner for the G-20 summit. A spokeswoman for Laura Bush—odd job to happen into—insisted that the WH gets the wine at wholesale, and that "it was the most appropriate wine that we had in the White House cellar" for such a gathering.

Which led me to wonder: what IS the most appropriate wine for a gathering of fiscal potentates who collectively represent some 90% of the world's economic oomph? I mean, I love Shafer Hillside Select as much as anyone with tastebuds and would no sooner turn down a glass of it than I would set my cat on fire (if I had a cat, that is). But is it really the essence of the event? The sine qua non vino for global moneymen? Personally, I think they should have gone with Gold, an unoaked Chardonnay—and a rather tasty one, too—that happens to have a snowfall of 24 karat gold flakes drifting through each bottle. That would set the tone all right.

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