A French private collector and restaurant-owner, Christian Vanneque, has smashed the record for the most expensive bottle of white wine sold commercially by purchasing a rare bottle of 1811 Château d’Yquem for £75,000 ($123,000). The 200-year-old bottle was sold at the Ritz, in central London by specialists The Antique Wine Company.
Mr Vanneque says he now plans to put the wine on display in his new restaurant in Bali, Indonesia. He went on to reveal that he will be drinking it in 2017 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of him becoming a Sommelier. His prized bottle is the most expensive white wine ever purchased, breaking the previous record of $100,000 in 2006 for a bottle of 1787 Chateau d’Yquem.
So, why did the Château d’Yquem sell for so much? Well, aside from its complexity, concentration and sweetness, Château d’Yquems are also renowned for their longevity. Mr. Vanneque’s bottle is also a sweet Sauternes from the same Bordeaux chateau, though his purchase was produced in 1811, a year also known as the comet year. Oenophiles throughout history attribute the appearance of a comet for the reason why wines were extraordinary that year.
Mr. Vanneque said he doesn’t plan on selling the bottle at his new restaurant, I will never resell it, even if a wealthy Chinese gentleman or a rich man from the Middle East offers to buy it,” said Mr. Vanneque. “I’m not a fancy collector. I’m not rich. I work very hard. This is important that it’s not connected to investing. I’m a sommelier. Wine is for drinking.
The wine is still very drinkable, he added, unlike a red wine of that age. The same 1811 vintage has received accolades in modern times: The U.S. wine critic Robert Parker tasted the wine in 1996 and gave it a 100-point rating, saying it tasted like liquefied crème brûlée.
Indeed, he may even have his drinking partner singled out already. He has invited me to share it with him in about five year’s time, said Stephen Williams, MD of The Antique Wine Company.
At almost £20,000 per glass, that’s not a bad offer at all.