Another thing Anthony Scaramucci is famous for: his over-the-top wine-tasting parties at Davos
Over the past four days, America has been getting to know Anthony Scaramucci, the hedge fund manager who has been named Donald Trump’s new White House communications director.
We’ve learned that the 53-year-old Wall Street veteran likes to mention he’s a Harvard Law School grad; that he didn’t always think that highly of the president before he says he became a rabid fan; and that he has the slick good looks, gift of gab and ease in front of the camera that leaves people thinking that he’s the person his boss would secretly like to be.
Among the global financial elite, “The Mooch” is known for something else: for throwing extravagant, splashy gatherings and parties.
The financier dubbed “the human pinky ring” by Seth Meyers formerly ran SALT, one of the hedge fund industry’s flashiest conferences, at Las Vegas’ Bellagio.
But he is especially remembered for hosting over-the-top wine-tasting parties at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The annual gathering held at the Swiss Alpine town in January is also known for hosting celebrities, over the years drawing Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, George and Amal Clooney, Bono, Serena Williams and Kevin Spacey.
Alas, Scaramucci’s party in 2011 is legendary, less known for its erudite discussions of complex noses or exquisite layers of fruit, wood and minerals. Rather, it was “basically a drunken mess,” according to financial writer Felix Salmon who attended the party at the Piano Bar of the Hotel Europe.
Harlan Estate 1994
The party should have been a connoisseur’s delight, Salmon wrote on his blog post for Reuters. It featured wines that had all received 100 points or equivalent from well-known wine raters like Robert Parker and Wine Spectator and that retailed for hundreds or thousands of dollars.
The selection included some Napa Valley selections: Dana Estates Winery’s Lotus Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 and the 1994 Harlan Estate Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
Alas, the “plutocrats” in attendance were not all that interested in slowly sipping and appreciating the sublime flavors of the evening’s elite wines, Salmon said. Rather, the revelers clustered around stations, getting large pours of increasingly-indistinguishable heavy cabernets.
They competed to find the 2000 Cheval Blanc and 1998 Le Pin — “which were naturally considered the most desirable wines, just because they were the most expensive,” Salmon said.
2000 Cheval Blanc
Especially egregious, Salmon said, the wine was served “pop-and-pour” style, where a wine would run out, a waiter would run to get another bottle, would open it, and then immediately start pouring it into various partiers’ glasses.
“No decanting, no time to breathe, nothing,” Salmon said, adding that most of these wines were far too young too drink — some of the vintages should be aged for decades. He said the event wasn’t “remotely conducive to tasting and appreciating the wines.”
Salmon noted that Scaramucci was the first to admit that he wasn’t much of a wine connoisseur: “He knew what he wanted: he told me that the bill for the event just kept on rising from its initial stratospheric level, as he insisted that if he was going to throw a party, the wine must never run out and must be available in quantity.”
Scaramucci later called Salmon a “dork” for his scathing post but apparently got the message, opting for less ostentatious wine the next year and turning the event into a fund-raiser for a nonprofit group that teaches entrepreneurship to young people, the New York Times reported.
Scaramucci didn’t hold his party this past January. That’s because he only stopped by Davos for a day after selling his SkyBridge Capital hedge fund and heading off to Washington for a new advisory role at the White House, Page Six said.
But even without the party, Scaramucci’s star power couldn’t be forgotten. Bloomberg.com dubbed him the “year’s surprise Davos star” as the “lone attendee from [the] incoming administration.”
Scaramucci found himself “jammed up’ with requests for his time.” He also joked of his new role in Trump’s administration: “I brought a food taster.”