Ted Balestreri, co-owner of the Sardine Factory restaurant in Monterey, Calif., used to say he’d never uncork his 141-year-old bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild, estimated to be worth about $10,000.
Last New Year’s Eve, while dining with a group of friends that included then-CIA director Leon Panetta, Balestreri said he jokingly made a bet: “I told Leon that if he captured Osama bin Laden, I’d open that bottle,” Balestreri said.
Panetta took that bet.
A few months later, the news broke that the Al Qaeda leader was caught by a CIA-led team, and Balestreri’s phone rang.
The restaurateur said he will be happy to follow through on his bet. Balestreri emphasized, however, that glasses will be raised to honor Panetta, who is now secretary of defense, not by any means in celebration of bin Laden’s death.
Their plan is to open the bottle on the next New Year’s Eve.
Panetta’s wife Sylvia, however, told the Los Angeles Times that she wasn’t sure her husband was going to be available that night.
“It depends on Leon’s availability,” she told the Times. “He’s been a little busy lately.”