UK auctioneer Bonhams is selling 1920s bottles of Latour, Margaux, Mouton Rothschild and Ausone that were hidden in a bricked-up cellar in Guernsey during the Second World War.
The contents of the cellar from wine and spirits merchant Bucktrout & Co (founded in 1830) also includes Chateaux Haut-Brion and Cheval-Blanc from the 1940s and assorted bottles of port from the turn of the 19th century.
The former premises of Bucktrout, located in Waterloo House in St Peter Port, had a cellar that was only accessible by lift, making it possible to obscure the sole entrance.
‘Because of the structure of the building, it was possible to hide the cellar without people realising there was an actual room there,’ said Dave Robilliard, Bucktrout’s managing director.
‘These wines were hidden behind this brick wall from the Germans for all of the occupation and once Guernsey was liberated and people returned to the island, the cellar was opened up.’
The wine going under the hammer on 17 March was stored in situ until Bucktrouts moved into more modern quarters – also in St Peter Port – several years ago.
Lots include five bottles of Chateau Latour 1926, estimated to go for up to £2000 (US$ ); eight bottles of Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1928, two dozen of Chateau Ausone of the same vintage, and nine of Chateau Margaux 1929.
‘Most of the wine was originally sourced from the Chateaux direct, and also on some occasions were delivered into Guernsey in barrels and then bottled locally,’ said Robilliard.
As well as the hidden wines, the sale also includes wine from the mid and late 1940s: Chateau Haut-Brion 1945, Cheval-Blanc 1947, Sandeman 1945 Port and Taylor 1948 Port. There’s also a bottle each of Harvey’s 1897 Special Quality Port and Harvey’s 1908 Port.
Written by Maggie Rosen