For the most part, I consider myself something of a literary whiz kid—far too quick-witted, imaginative, profound and enlightened to comment on silly, wine-related ‘news stories’ that have little to do with my mission of advancing enological education among serious students of the vine.
Well, I suppose that’s an exaggeration. Even a bit of a white lie. Actually, I consider myself a disgruntled dolt with a sub-par IQ who likes to mock rich people when they screw up.
Anyway, a recent story in MailOnline.com, as shared by wine whiz kid Ronan Sayburn, MS, concerns a night of pricey misadventure had by trader whiz kid Alex Hope. On March 4 of this year, Hope—accompanied by a bevy of thick-thighed, brain-fried high-brows like British dramality whiz kid-ette Layla Flaherty—dropped more than £200,000 (U.S. $ 320,000) for a single evening’s worth of imbibery at a Liverpool nightclub.
Among the tariff items (as listed below) were ‘42 Pussies’ at £3.00 each—a remarkable tally, even for as big and prolific a dick as Hope.
But, more to the point, the steepest ticket item on the bar tab was a £125,000 (U.S. $197,000) double Nebuchadnezzar of Armand de Brignac Champagne.
For reference, large-format Champagne bottles have bizarre, Biblical names like Salmanazar and Methuselah for reasons even Solomon’s wisdom couldn’t discern. The largest by far is called double Nebuchadnezzar, which weighs a hundred pounds and contains the equivalent of 40 regular-sized bottles of bubbly.
(Oddly, as you’ll note, Hope’s bill also includes 40 fifths of THE EXACT SAME WINE! What do you want to bet that he and his acclaimed army of alcoholic airheads poured them one-by-one into the double Neb just to see if the bottle claim was accurate?)
For further reference, Armand de Brignac (known colloquially as the Ace of Spades and owned by New York-based Sovereign Brands along with the Champagne house of Cattier) was virtually unknown in the U.S. until rapper Jay-z featured it in a video Show Me What You Got; suddenly, every erudite, wine-savvy street thug from Boston to San Berdoo had to have a gold-labeled Ace up his Pelle Pelle leather sleeve.
This is, of course, a fairly pathetic way to break into the U.S. super-premium wine market, but as you’ll recall, I am far too profound, enlightened and whiz kiddy a writer to cast stones at poor Mr. Cattier, sitting in his château in Chigny-les-Roses, Rheims, grumbling about his lack of street cred among the cream of American hip-hop intelligentsia.
Now, no doubt neither of the above references is of the slightest concern to Mr. Hope, who I will wager has no interest in the history of Champagne or in bottle lore or even in Negro music, and was merely showing off while trying to score the evening’s 43rd pussy come hell or high Desperate Scousewives.
I also have no doubt that he was successful in that endeavor, as forty bottles of Champagne have been known to relax the most tightly-clenched thighs, even those as large as Ms. Flaherty’s. And after all, Hope has been described as:
‘…A talented, charismatic and thoroughly likeable man who exudes knowledge. You can’t help but respect and admire this self-taught and self-made young trader; a name to watch out for in the City; an expert in the UK economy, he works the currency markets, regularly trading millions.’
Who describes him this way? Why he does, of course—on his own web site.
And That’s Not Even the Funny Part.
The funny part is that he received so much press from his Liverpudlian lechery lope that the Financial Services Authority—the British equivalent of the SEC—launched a deep-dive investigation into his business dealings and discovered that he’d been operating without a license.
So, yesterday, they arrested him.
Matthew Henry, an English Presbyterian whiz kid, was fond of quipping, “There are none so blind as those who will not see…”
Right you are, Reverend—even those who have drunk so much goddamn Champagne they should be seeing double.
*According to the tab, Hope only tipped 10%. Could his double-Neb toting waiters be the ultimate whistle blowers…?