A 200-year-old bottle of Château d’Yquem has been sold for £75,000, becoming the most expensive bottle of white wine in the world.
French collector and restaurateur Christian Vanneque bought the record-breaking 1811 Sauternes from The Antique Wine Company at London’s Ritz Hotel and will put it on display – behind bullet-proof glass – at his new restaurant, Sip Sunset Grill, in Bali, Indonesia.
The former head sommelier at La Tour d’Argent in Paris said he fully intended to open and drink the wine, telling BBC News: ‘I call it my “petite folie”. Petite folie is a little craziness, something you buy furtively like this, which is expensive of course, but you buy it for you.’
Stephen Williams, managing director of The Antique Wine Company, said the wine was part of a cellar bought from a European client four years ago, and was put on the market after being verified at Chateau d’Yquem.
Ten barrels of 1811 Yquem were made – about 3,000 bottles – most of it exported to Russia, he added, but there are now only 10 confirmed bottles left in existence.
‘I always have a tear in my eye when I sell a bottle like this,’ Williams said, ‘but it’s some consolation when you know it’s going to a good home.’
The 1811 vintage is renowned as the most famous of the ‘Comet vintages’ – years in which an astronomical event has happened before harvest, in this case the Great Comet of 1811.
Michael Broadbent, in his book Vintage Wine, said he last tasted the 1811 Yquem in 1998. ‘It reminded me of raspberries and cream. Considerable depth and length. Dry Finish.’
Written by Richard Woodard