New Year's Eve 2011 will be one to remember for Carmel Valley local and current Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
He will be toasting with his usual group of 28 friends at the famed Sardine Factory in Monterey that Saturday night, but he will be doing it with a 141 year-old bottle of wine worth $10,000.
Panetta immediately responded, "You're on!"
Fast forward to May 1 and Panetta's wife Sylvia rang up Balestreri and told him to get his wine opener ready and to turn on the TV.
Sylvia told the paper she made the call on her husband's request.
"I was out 10 grand," Balestreri told the paper, adding "but it was worth every penny. It will be my honor to honor one of America's great heroes, probably of the century. Leon has made us all proud. I consider him and Sylvia the first family of the Monterey Peninsula."
Balestreri said he will serve the 1870 Ch teau Lafite Rothschild in his restaurant's private wine cellar soon.