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Most extensive collection of Chateau Lafite to be tested prior to sale

The most extensive vertical collection of Chateau Lafite Rothschild ever amassed is being offered for sale – and it’s being rigorously tested for authenticity.

The Antique Wine Company’s unique 48-bottle collection spans four centuries of Chateau Lafite, including a bottle of 1787, the same vintage as the Jefferson wines currently causing upheaval throughout the wine world. (see ‘Related stories’ below)

A combination of nuclear isotope analysis and gamma radiation and proton beam tests conducted by experts from the universities of Bordeaux and Manchester will be used to confirm the age of each glass bottle in the Antique Wine Company collection. The wine itself – extracted by hypodermic needle through the cork – will be subjected to molecular and chemical analysis.

‘I appreciate that there is currently a lot of interest in fake wine at

present,’ Antique Wine Company CEO Stephen Williams told decanter.com.

‘As professionals in vintage wine, we are under an obligation to use the maximum due diligence in examining the wines we buy and sell, hence the extensive work we are doing with scientists. When we are dealing with wines of such high value, we can afford to spend the time and money on getting all the factual support we can.’

The collection, which is expected to fetch US$1-3million (£500,000-1.5m),

has been assembled over the past two years from restaurants, hotels and private cellars.

Several older vintages come from the cellar of a member of the Rothschild family, where they have been stored since being reconditioned in the early 1980’s. The latter are accompanied by certification of re-corking by Lafite cellar master Yves Le Cannu.

‘I personally don’t think there is as much fake wine around as many are being led to believe,’ said Williams, who advised he had come across counterfeit wine only three times.

‘Let’s face it, the majority of grand cru chateaux produced between 100,000 and 400,000 bottles of wine each year during historical vintages, most of which was sold into markets which traditionally laid the wine down to mature,’ he added.

‘It is not surprising that there remain significant stocks of mature fine wine hidden in cellars throughout Europe.’

Related stories:

World’s most expensive bottle claimed fake as renowned collector sued

FBI investigates auction houses for wine fraud

Written by Maggie Rosen

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