|The catacombs beneath Villa Taverna.|
Photo from Beau Geste, Mon Ami
Once a year, the CLO holds an auction to raise money to support its budget. Various goods and services are donated and the auction takes place on a Saturday night in late Spring. It's a dress up affair with an open bar. The 'dress up' part isn't as important to the story as is the 'open bar' part.
[...]Dave and Stacie had just won the Wine Tasting Event. "Great," I said. "Count me in. How many of us are there?" He explained that, including me, there were already three of us. "But," he said, "this includes dinner too!" 400 euros to spit wine into a bucket and eat fingerfood was a deal I couldn't pass up.
The Wine Tasting Event was held at the Ambassador's residence, Villa Taverna, in a wine cellar designed and built by his predecessor. To get to the small elegant wine tasting room, we walked through ancient Roman catacombs that were only discovered during the construction of the wine cellar. We were served four white wines and four red wines by a sommelier who had personally chosen them from Villa Taverna's 5,000 bottle collection. He explained what we might be experiencing with each vintage and asked us to tell him what we thought of each one. I thought that one eighty euro bottle of red was just fine, and said so.
Each of us was asked which of the eight wines we preferred to have during dinner and everyone was given his or her choice. "Gimme that 80 euro red," I said sophisticatedly. The food was every bit as good as the wine and I barely saved room for coffee and dessert. As we were departing late in the evening, the sommelier mentioned to us that we were the first people to use the wine tasting room. I'll be more than happy to join any future groups planning to take advantage of this opportunity and our bidding strategy will begin with an open bar.
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