Unprecedented Price Paid for Extraordinary Wine Collection

Armen Hareyan's picture

135 bottles of the world's most rarefied Sauternes wine, Chateau d'Yquem, were sold by London-based Antique Wine Company (www.antique-wine.com) yesterday to a European buyer for the unprecedented sum of GBP775.000 (1.5 million US dollars).

Housed in two bespoke walnut cabinets designed by Royal furniture maker David Linley, the unique collection spanning three centuries includes every consecutive vintage of Chateau d'Yquem produced between 1860 and 2003. It is the most extensive living archive of the world's most famous dessert wine ever to come to market. Not even the Chateau itself holds all of these vintages in its cellars.

The sale attracted intense interest from some of the world's most prolific wine collectors when the assemblage was unveiled at a private tasting in London in November. Over 30 top financiers, entrepreneurs, politicians and private customers attended the event, which was co-hosted by Pierre Lurton, president of Chateau d'Yquem, Lord Linley and Antique Wine Company managing director Stephen Williams. Since then, bidding has been fierce with potential buyers from Japan, the USA, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Eire, United Kingdom, France, Luxembourg Russia and Sweden taking part. The identity of the purchaser will be announced in January 2007 when delivery of the remarkable collection takes place.

Stephen Williams comments, "The heritage, quality, rarity and status of Chateau d'Yquem is unparalleled within the world of fine wine and this is the most extraordinary collection I have ever had the fortune of selling. Just imagine owning such a unique piece of living history stretching from the era of President Abraham Lincoln, through the American Civil War, the Russian revolution, the telephone, television and aeroplane to the current age of global telecommunications and the worldwide web!"

On being asked if the older wines in the collection might still be drinkable, Williams replied, "Absolutely! Chateau d'Yquem has the concentration necessary to mature for many years, even centuries. But the enjoyment of such rare wines is not just a question of taste; it is a remarkably nostalgic experience. In 1860 when peasants in Bordeaux were picking grapes for the oldest bottle in the collection, the US presidential election set the stage for the American Civil War!"

The most valuable single bottle of white wine currently available on the market is a bottle of Chateau d'Yquem 1811. This Napoleonic vintage, famously known as the drink of the Russian Tsars is also owned by the Antique Wine Company and offered for sale at a modest GBP50,000 (100,000 US Dollars) www.antique-wine.com

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