The Carlton Restaurant

Archives: December 2009

Last Minute Gift Ideas

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christmas presentsWell, it’s hard to believe but it’s the LAST weekend before Christmas.  For those of you that have everything done, maybe this is the weekend for you to sit back, relax and watch a few Christmas television specials.  However, if you’re one of the many that has yet to start shopping and plan on venturing into the “mall madness” this weekend, we wish you luck – lots of it! Here are just a few ideas for our last minute shoppers out there looking for something simple, inexpensive and don’t involve waiting in enormous lines:

Gift Certificates. Okay, I know sometimes it seems like gift certificates are an easy way out, but honestly, you’ll save so much time and stress by purchasing them and your loved ones will appreciate the extra so-called pocket money.  And, better yet, when you purchase them from Giant Eagle, you receive fuelperks!

Together Time. There are many great attractions around the Pittsburgh area, so grab some tickets to a show, sporting event or other special event and make it an evening.  Spending time together is a great gift for both you and them!  Something else to consider is purchasing a special hotel package that includes a massage, bottle of wine, dinner, etc. for the two of you to enjoy together.

Food. Whether it’s your famous dip or irresistible chocolate chip cookies, food is also a great option for a quick, last minute gift.  It shows them that you took time to make them something really special.  Try to personalize it as much as possible – add their favorite toppings, write their name in icing, etc.  It works every time!

Charitable Donations. Sometimes people really don’t need anything.  A great way to give back to the community and give them a meaningful gift is through charitable donations. Find something they are really passionate about and make a gift in their name.  If you and your group of friends can’t decide what to get each other, team up and make a donation to your favorite organization.

This Week’s Wine Wisdom

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Expensive WineHow much are you willing to spend on a bottle of wine?  Here’s an great list of the world’s most expensive wines from

Most Expensive Regular sized Bottle: Chateau Lafite 1787 sold at Christie’s London in 1985 for $160,000. Bought for the Forbes Collection, this bottle of Lafite bears Thomas Jefferson’s initials etched into the glass, a practice not that unusual in the 18th century when large purchases were made directly from the Chateau.

Most Expensive Big Bottle: A Jeroboam (5 lovely liters) Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1945–considered one of the great vintages of the 20th century–sold at Christie’s London in 1997 for $114,614. One of the great vintages of the 20th century was 1945, and although the buyer remains anonymous, if he decides to sample it, please know that I am available to help him evaluate its drinkability.

Most Expensive Fortified Wine: A 1775 Sherry from the Massandra collection, sold at Sotheby’s London in 2001 for $43,500.

Most Expensive Lot of Wine Sold at Auction: Situated 4 kilometers from Yalta in the Crimea, the Massandra winery was considered the finest in Czarist Russia. Its cellar contains over a million bottles of both Russian, some bearing the Imperial seal, and Western European wines, the oldest of which was this Sherry.

Most Expensive White Wine: A bottle of 1784 Chateau d’Yquem sold at Christie’s London in 1986 for $56,588. This bottle also bears Thomas Jefferson’s initials.

Most Expensive Dry White Wine: Seven bottles of Le Montrachet, DRC 1978 sold at Sotheby’s New York in 2001 for $167,500 or $23,929 per bottle.

Most Expensive Single Bottle of Red Burgundy: Romanée-Conti, DRC 1990 6 magnums at Zachy’s New York in 2002 for $69,600, or $5,800 per regular bottle.

Most Expensive Lot of Red Burgundy: Set of seven Methuselah’s (6 liters or eight bottles) of Romanée-Conti, DRC 1985 sold at Sotheby’s London in 1996 for $224,900.

Most Expensive American Wine: Three bottles of Screaming Eagle 1994 sold at Christie’s Los Angeles in 2000 for $11,500 or $3,833 per bottle.

Most Expensive Bottle of Wine Ever Broken: Chateau Margaux 1787 insured for $225,000.

Most Expensive Wine Ever Sold At a Charity Auction: Imperial of Screaming Eagle Cab 1992 sold at the Napa Valley Wine Auction in 2000 for $500,000. Bought by Cisco Systems executive Chase Bailey, this is technically the highest price ever paid for a bottle of wine but as it was at a charity auction, much of the price must be discounted as a charitable contribution.


Jack Wagner Fundraiser

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Jack WagnerI am proud to host a $250 fundraiser and upscale Wine Tasting event from 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on Monday, December 14 for Auditor General Jack Wagner as he begins his campaign for Democratic nomination for Governor of Pennsylvania.  My many years of involvement in the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association have put me in close contact with state and local public officials – giving me a unique perspective.  Jack is an honest public servant that is passionate about good government.  In my opinion, he is exactly the kind of person that we need to lead our state during these difficult times.  We will have over 40 wines available to sample accompanied by Chef Mark’s creations.  Please join us, spend some time with Jack and participate in the democratic process.  Perhaps you can help to elect a governor from western Pennsylvania!