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Timing is everything for special wine dinners

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Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate scored a 2008 Penfolds Grange Shiraz a perfect 100. Photo: Penfolds/Newscom

We don’t know if Del Frisco Restaurant Group wine director David O’Day is lucky, good—or both. All we can say is that the chain-wide May 1 Penfolds Grange Wine Dinner he announced last month has morphed from a pricey ($200 per head) night out into a tremendous bargain now that the featured wine, a 2008 Penfolds Grange Shiraz, has become one of the handful of wines in the world to be awarded a perfect 100 points by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse and O’Day announced this special dinner on Feb. 13 and news of the rare perfect 100 Wine Advocate score for the 2008 Penfolds Grange Shiraz came March 1. Before the score was announced, the list price for a bottle of this vintage was $173 and savvy shoppers could find it online for $130. With this 100 score, the price is almost certain to rise, and availability will become a big issue if it hasn’t already.

Chefs from all 10 Del Frisco’s units are contributing to the menu for this special wine dinner. Here’s how the lineup stands now:

Little Bites: Penfolds Bin 51 Eden Valley Riesling is paired with Duck Confit on Garlic Crostini by Chef Fernando Guerrero, Las Vegas; Sautéed Thyme Scented Bay Scallops Spoons by Chef Elvis Inniss, New York; Seared Loin of Lamb and Sweet Potato Brochette with Chimichurri Sauce by Chef Jim Teutemacher and Chef Anthony Reyes, Chicago.
First Course: Penfolds Bin 311 Tumbarumba Chardonnay is paired with Achiote Butter Poached Lobster and Cannellini Bean-Arugula Salad, and Citrus Infused Olive Oil Apricot Coulis by Chef Steve Haug, Houston, and Chef Anthony Felli, Fort Worth.
Second Course: Penfolds Bin 138 Barossa Valley GSM is paired with Sliced Ribeye Spinellis with Roasted Potatoes, English Peas and Boursin Butter by Chef Robert Kalish, Charlotte, and Chef John Stritzinger, Philadelphia.
Third Course: 2008 Penfolds Grange (and 2003 Penfolds Grange at New York location only) is paired with Porcini Dusted Beef Tenderloin with Buttermilk Blue Cheese and Fig Melt, Grilled Fiddle Heads and Red Wine-Mint Gastrique by Corporate Chef Thomas Dritsas and Chef David Holben, Dallas.
Dessert: Penfolds Club Port is paired with Nutella Crumb Cake with Wensleydale-Cranberry Streusel, Blackberry Compote and Agave Nectar by Chef Tony Schwappach, Denver and Chef Derek Barragan, Boston.

The dinner costs $200 at most locations. It’s $250 in Philadelphia, and $295 in New York City. Considering the caliber of the food and wine being served, the value proposition of this special dinner is off the charts. We’re betting customers will be storming the doors trying to get in.

In case you’re wondering what a 100 point “perfect” wine tastes like, the best we can do is give the verbal description from the Wine Advocate. Wine reviewer Lisa Perrotti-Brown describes the 2008 Penfolds Grange Shiraz this way:

“Deep purple-black in color, the 2008 Grange puts forward a very complex nose packed with aromas of mulberries, layers of baking spices, cloves and cinnamon with nuances of minced meat, anise, potpourri and whiffs of dried mint and chocolate. It is framed by firm, grainy tannins and a refreshing acid line before finishing very long with aniseed and lingering blackberry preserves notes. This is clearly a wonderfully opulent and a magic vintage for this label.”

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