A restaurateur friend sent me the Papillon liquidation list by e-mail yesterday and, apparently there were big crowds eager to get a bargain at the old (also closed down) Slainte premises in Stillorgan.
It is quite a clever move by the liquidators because these wines have already been offered to the trade, they are the leftovers from 2 rounds of bidding of the extensive Papillon stock. They have priced the wines at (very) full retail prices and then discounted them by 30-40%. So, is this a bargain? No, it is not, and for the following reasons:
1. The wines are not up to much anyway - I know the Papillon list and there was a lot of dross, partly the reason why it didn't sell in the first place. Anything half decent has already been sold by the liquidators into the trade.
2. The wines are too old - especially for the whites, 2004 Chardonnay or 2005 Sauv Blanc from South Africa is likely to be way past its best and quite possibly undrinkable. If many of the whites on the list were offered to me for free, I wouldn't take them. The reds might be hanging in there, but probably past their best as well.
3. The wines are too dear. By marking them up to the full retail prices and discounting them back down again, the wines are being offered at not far off the wholesale prices. So you have people queuing up to pay cash for wines at the same prices that Papillon couldn't sell them to the wine trade at a few years ago.
It's a big swizz, if you ask me, but there are no shortage of people who will pay any price to get what they think is a bargain.
If you get a dodgy looking bottle of 6 year old South African Chenin Blanc over Christmas, make sure you open it for the person who brought it!!