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Moet & Chandon to sell 1914 Champagne at special Sotheby’s auction

Moet & Chandon is preparing to sell hundreds of bottles of vintage Champagne spanning the past Century via a special auction at Sotheby's to mark the French group's 270th anniversary.

All 270 bottles, 174 magnums and three jeroboams assigned for the auction have been selected from Moët’s Grand Vintage Collection at its 28km of cellars in Epernay by its chef de cave, Benoît Gouez.

Vintages will range from 2004 all the way back to 1914, said the Champagne house, which is part of French billionaire Bernard Arnaud’s LVMH luxury goods empire.

‘There are some incredible wines in this auction,’ said Gouez. Some of the wines, including those from 1914 and the ‘20s, ‘50s and ‘60s, were only disgorged earlier this year.

The 1914 is likely to capture the eye of bidders, with two bottles expected to fetch up to £6,000 at the auction, to take place in London on November 13th.There will be three, two-bottle lots of the 1914 up for sale.

‘Moët 1914 is a famous long-lived vintage of the house,’ Michael Edwards, Champagne judge at the 2013 Decanter World Wine Awards, told decanter.com. ‘The vintage has a special poignancy, as it was picked by women, their men being at the front [for World War One].’

Edwards, who is also author of The Finest Wines of Champagne, said the 1914 was in ‘fine shape’ with good fruit and no signs of oxidation when he last tasted it, in 1968. ‘After another half a century, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t still be goodish,’ he said, adding that ‘the fact that it has lain on its lees in Epernay until disgorged is a very good sign’.

Sotheby’s Worldwide head of wines, Serena Sutcliffe MW, said, ‘I tasted the legendary 1914 with Benoît [Gouez] earlier this year and it is superlative’.

There are plenty of other strong vintages pegged for auction, including two bottles of the 1921 and one bottle of 1928, expected to fetch up to £5,200 and £2,400 respectively. Edwards described both years as having ‘exceptional finesse’, and perhaps more so than 1914.

‘We have never before held an auction of this scale, with such a selection of rare and fine Champagnes from one producer,’ said Sutcliffe.

Written by Chris Mercer

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