(CNN) – The global economy may be undergoing a significant downturn, but the White House's dinner budget still appears flush with cash.
After all, world leaders who are in town to discuss the economic crisis are set to dine in style Friday night while sipping wine listed at nearly $500 a bottle.
According to the White House, tonight's dinner to kick off the G-20 summit includes such dishes as "Fruitwood-smoked Quail," "Thyme-roasted Rack of Lamb," and "Tomato, Fennel and Eggplant Fondue Chanterelle Jus."
To wash it all down, world leaders will be served Shafer Cabernet “Hillside Select” 2003, a wine that sells at $499 on Wine.com.
The exceedingly pricey wine may seem a bit peculiar given leaders are in Washington to discuss a possible world financial meltdown, but Sally McDonough, a spokeswoman for Laura Bush, said it "was the most appropriate wine that we had in the White House wine cellar for such a gathering.
McDonough also said the White House purchased the wine at a "significantly lower price" than what it is listed at.
"Of course the White House gets its wine at wholesale prices," she said. "Given the intimate size of the group, it was an appropriate time for The White House to use this stock."
The leaders of the U.K., France, Russia, China, India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey and 11 developing economies have all come to Washington at the behest of President Bush in an effort to express confidence in the fundamental underpinnings of the world's economy.
– CNN's Becky Brittain contributed to this report
I think this is one of those stories that are printed just to get folks riled up. Heck I wish an expensive dinner was the ONLY problem we had to worry about with this country. Baseball is about to start their free agent signings and look at all the money these guys are going to get in our bad economy. We'll complain about it sure, but we'll still buy those game tickets, jerseys, high priced food and parking to keep it all going. This isn't going to end anytime soon.
These are leaders of America...I would do the same. If you want a piece of it, go out and get it. Obama proved that anyone can do great things if they work hard and believe.
After the meal, the world leaders will crack open the cellar's cognac and armagnac and laugh at the hoi polloi across the street: "Let them eat cake!"
Maybe they should sell that stock at retail price and then put that money towards paying off the debt this administration has put us in. Every little bit counts!
As for wine served at the party, maybe it'd nicer if it was a BYOB kind of event. Makes it more interesting!
2002 of the same wine was much more seamless and well balanced. too bad they couldn't afford the good stuff. :)
on a serious note, the 2003 is still a bit young. i think 10 more years in the cellar can make this wine a much better drink.
Just like the people who took our bail out money. The government who just keeps on giving – to the rich.
And they scold AIG.
I almost can't wait to get laid off so these people can't get anymore money from me!
it's government welfare.
they don't care the rpeople are paying.
what is the carbon footprint of all these private aircraft comin in?
what's wrong with a tele-conference?
This isn't news....it's just trivia that only incites anger in those who want to make something of it. The wine was already purchased – world leaders should always be treated well – it's none of our business. What is our business is the issue of bailing out a car company which continually made bad decisions through the years, and using our tax money to make the bail out possible.
... But it is kind of funny to hear about this wine price and not hear people quietly whistling the 'Internationale' to themselves...
Its good to be the King!!
am sure they would prefer to see sen. elect obama.
Since there has only been 6 state dinners in 8 years, this is a bargain.
On eBay right now, a bottle of Shafer "Hillside Select" '99 is selling for $429. Is it too late to pull a switcharoo with a few cases of Mogen David Blackberry and then do some "Buy It Now" listings on behalf of us taxpayers?
I don't see the problem. As the story says, the wine has been in the cellar for some time (probably since 2004 or 2005, given that it's the 2003 vintage). I would have a problem if they were going out and buying this wine specifically for this dinner, but that's not the case. It's already paid for. My only issue is that it is too young to drink!
What a bunch of dummies. Must be a bunch of Republicans.
How about we distribute the country's wealth equally to everyone, so that there won't be any complaints.
So do you expect to have a meeting of world leaders drinking yellow tale Merlot and coolaid? This is not something to put into perspective. Grow up!!!
Let them drink Ripple.
Does anyone else just not find this crap amusing........
This is why the common people over-threw royalty in France. They just couldn't stand seeing the opulence flaunted in their faces, when everyone else was in dire straights.
Bush wants to drink his stock before he leaves....
Bush just DOESN'T GET IT!
Highest disapproval rating in the 60-year history and well-deserved.
You know, when people talk about hardship and you do not know first hand what that feels like, then you do not have any idea. I say that these VIPs should be served cheap wine and told that this is what most can afford, if even then.
Well, maybe the good wine will put them in a good mood to work through this crisis. Kind of a moot point though. Is this supposed to make us angry? Come on CNN, this is not news other than the fact that they're meeting.
I could almost agree with the poster who said we should not nit-pick...but for heavens sake...this is what is wrong with this country..taxpayers are paying for that wine..and we are paying for the bad mortgages...and we are paying for AIG retreats and bonuses..enough is enough. I don't expect anything to change.