Clearly, it is the season to compile £1m verticals of grand vin. Hard on the heels of Hedonism Wines’ full set of Grange comes a stunning array of vintage Yquem, courtesy of Harrods.
Two years ago in Hong Kong, Christie’s auctioned off a vertical of 128 Yquem vintages, together with 40 magnums, for over $1m. In 2006, The Antique Wine Company also sold a collection from 1860 to 2003, which was bought for £775,000. Now, the Knightsbridge store’s wine shop is selling 111 vintages of the legendary Sauternes First Growth for a cool £1m.
The Antique d’Yquem Collection was originally assembled over three decades by a Parisian aficionado. He was a close friend of the Lur Saluces family, which owned Yquem prior to its takeover by luxury conglomerate LVMH in 2001. According to Harrods, this enabled him to source rare and hard-to-find vintages directly from Yquem’s cellars.
On average, only 65,000 bottles are produced at Yquem each year. But in some, when the crop is not deemed worthy, no wine is made at all. Therefore, the Harrods collection, which begins in 1890 and ends in 2009, has no vintages from nine years: 1910, 1915, 1930, 1951, 1952, 1964, 1972, 1974 and 1992.
Coincidentally, Yquem’s director Pierre Lurton has also just announced that Yquem will make no wine in 2012. “A brand such as Yquem must know when not to make a vintage,” he said. “The wines would have lacked body. They would never have had enough concentration.” For Yquem’s owners, this may mean lost revenue of up €25m. “It will pay off in the end,” added Lurton. “We have so many great vintages in the future yet to write about.”