Precious wines – including a case of Château Latour 1949 – are sitting in the cellars of Fortnum and Mason in London while staff search for their owners.
The exclusive 200-year-old Piccadilly grocer has always offered cellarage to its valued customers, but now due to pressure of space it’s having to discontinue the free service.
Adn there are hundreds of cases of wine, whisky, port and spirits that have never been claimed. There is Bordeaux (including a 1966 Lalande de Pomerol belonging to Mick Jagger), Beaujolais (50 years old and probably undrinkable, wine buyer James Taylor said), Champagne, tequila, Cognac, 1955 Cockburns, a half-case of Krug 1961.
The 1949 Latour – given a perfect score of 100 by Robert Parker – is in excellent condition. The wine is at a very good level in the bottles, which are wrapped in their original purple tissue paper and straw bindings, in their original wooden case. It will be worth at least £20,000 (€31,000).
The case has been there 30 years. A label says it belongs to Christopher Plummer or Elaine Taylor. Neither can be found – office manager Andrew Holden has tried every avenue, including the actor Christopher Plummer.
‘People move house, and they remember to tell everyone except us,’ James Taylor said. ‘We’ll advertise it now, and wait for about three months. If no one comes forward we will put in on sale around Christmas.’
Fortnums stand to make a decent profit. In 1989 they sold four cases of Krug 1964 to accounting firm KPMG for £100 a bottle.
Mick Jagger, at least, got his wine back. ‘We went down to his house to deliver it,’ Taylor said. ‘I don’t know if he was pleased or not – we never got a letter thanking us for it.’
Written by Adam Lechmere