Wine was once such an expensive commodity that the rich conspicuously spilled it on their golden capes instead of wasting it invisibly in their stomachs. Afford enough wine to braggadociously spill it with today's Groupon: for $55, you get a private wine or beer tasting for two, a cheese and charcuterie board, and three small plates at The Castello Plan in Brooklyn (up to a $112 total value).
The Castello Plan broadens sippable horizons with an array of guided tasting menus presenting guests with five half-glass pours of wine or belgian beer. Customers can dictate the theme of their tasting by choosing from one of three flight options (a $50–$75 value, depending on tastings selected). The Wine 101 tasting elucidates the fundamental differences between merlot, chardonnay, and Welch's with samples of varietally correct ambrosia. The Wines of France flight, meanwhile, dabbles in the vinous offerings of such notable regions as the Loire Valley, Burgundy, and Champagne. Beer tastings guide patrons through the hoppy labyrinth of belgian blondes and dubbels, delving into the brewing history of Trappist monks and alternative uses for waffle irons along the way.
The Castello Plan also adorns tables with an assortment of edibles, unveiling a board abounding with charcuterie and three types of cheese (a $21 value) from faraway locales renowned for their cheese-making, such as Italy, France, and the Moon. Customers can also share their choice of three small plates from the menu (a $16 value). Like a slow-moving ferris wheel, the menu rotates seasonally, but executive chef Natasha Pogrebinsky’s previous small plates have included crostini with marinated herring, a mixed olive bowl, and beer-battered jumbo shrimp.