Legendary Wines, Sold in Sips

Château Pétrus and Château d’Yquem from Bordeaux, Vega Sicilia from Spain and Bryant Family from California are legendary wines, scarce and costly. But now you can taste them without a trust fund. At Alain Ducasse’s Midtown bistro Benoit, the wine director, André Compeyre, pictured, an award-wining sommelier, is pouring them by the ounce: the 1992 Pétrus for $48, a 1991 d’Yquem for $35, a 1983 Vega Sicilia from a magnum for $16, and the 1999 Bryant Family for $29. A Saint-Émilion is also on the list. An ounce may not sound like much, but it’s rare to find these wines by the glass anywhere, and even a few sips provide a very special sample. “It lets people taste wines they might never have had a chance to try,” Mr. Compeyre said. “Some will order seconds or thirds.” He took over as wine director at Benoit last summer and installed a state-of-the-art dispensing system that made it possible to serve fine wines by the glass while preserving the rest of the bottle. He offers the wines until the supply is finished, then finds others, revising the list every week or two. Having worked at Alain Ducasse at the Essex House when it opened in 2000 (and before it closed in 2007), he knows what treasures the cellar holds. The wines are available in the dining room and at the bar. Benoit, 60 West 55th Street; (646) 943-7373. Article by FLORENCE FABRICANT