What qualifies a restaurant's wine list as being extravagant?
Some might argue it's the breadth of the collection, in which case a restaurant like Paris' legendary La Tour d'Argent deserves a nod. The much-lauded spot has a brag-worthy, 400-page list that includes selections which date back to 1858. Even when the restaurant auctioned some 18,000 bottles from its collection in 2009 (for a not insignificant $1.5 million, no less), the world-class cellar's holdings were still upwards of 400,000 bottles.
Which brings us to another important factor: The collection should likely include some rare and perhaps extremely old bottles (with extremely high price tags to match). At Bern's Steak House in Tampa, Fla., the already-extensive half a million bottle list got a surprise addition last December — a double magnum of 1947 Château Latour. Rather remarkably, the rare bottle was discovered by senior sommelier Eric Renaud in the restaurant's cellar, where it had it unknowingly been stored for years. Now, priced at $30,000, it ranks as the list's most expensive bottle to date.
And what about other factors, like say, presentation? At the Aureole located in America's mecca for all things over-the-top — Las Vegas — a fraction of the restaurant's collection, about 10,000 bottles, is displayed in a 42-foot glass tower. Adding to that flair are the "wine angels" who, via a system of ropes and pulleys, scales the walls of the tower retrieving the requested bottles.
Curious about more of some of the world's most extravagant restaurant wine lists? Check out the slideshow to read about eight favorites.
Additional research contributed by Tiffany Hoang.