An extraordinary collection of every vintage of Chateau d’Yquem since 1860 has been put together and will be offered for sale later this year.
The collection of the Sauternes first growth, from 1860 to 2002, is thought to be the deepest in existence – and rivals the library of bottles kept by the Sauternes first growth itself.
Yquem is the most venerable and lauded of all Sauternes properties, its wines famed for their longevity.
To add to the exclusivity of the assemblage, the wines will be showcased in a pair of cabinets custom-built by high-end furniture designer David Linley.
Stephen Williams of the London-based Antique Wine Company, who has put together the collection, has not decided yet how it will be sold, whether privately or by auction. Many of the vintages consist of just one bottle, but cases can be supplied around 50 of the vintages.
Pierre Lurton, general director of Yquem, will take part in a private tasting of some of the vintages to be held later this year.
Williams is bullish about the condition of the wine. ‘Every bottle is at very high shoulder or better, with many still in the neck. Most of the bottles more than 50 years old have been re-corked at Yquem.’
He added that he had tasted the 1875 ten years ago and found it ‘more like a 15-year-old wine than a wine over 100 years old – still sweet and rich with surprising freshness’.
While Williams is hardly a disinterested party, he stresses that he is making every effort to research the exact provenance of every bottle through purchase and ownership records.
The collection comes with a dossier of tasting notes from the chateau archives and from published records.
As to price, Williams said it is difficult to value, although ‘a Las Vegas casino owner’ bought a similar, though less comprehensive, collection from him in 1996 for US$1m.
Some of the most sought-after of Yquem vintages – the 67 for example – fetch prices at auction in excess of £6000 per case.
Written by Adam Lechmere