Wine from a secret cave comes to auction. 
Time to bid for the “perfect” cave’s wine collection

Stored in a real cave in a secret European location, an anonymous vendor’s 3,000-plus bottle collection goes under the hammer

French wines in the auction include Château Margaux 2000
French wines in the auction include Château Margaux 2000

Wine aficionados put a great deal of effort into maintaining the perfect “cave” in which to store their collection – but Sotheby’s will kick off this year’s sales of vinous delights on January 24 with a single-owner stash of 3,143 bottles that have been stored in a cave – in the English sense: a cavern deep within a rock outcrop.

 

The exact location of this north European “cave of Bacchus” is being kept a closely guarded secret. All that’s been revealed is that it is somewhere in the Luxembourg countryside and was used by the anonymous female collector as a storage site over some 20 years. This canny person realised the cool, even temperature and good natural humidity made for perfect wine-storage conditions.

 

Sotheby’s director of specialist wine, James Reed, recalls viewing the collection after the vendor provided him with a detailed map on which “X” marked the spot. “The entrance, protected by a steel door, was at the foot of a sheer rock face. Upon entering I was confronted by a rocky cavern with smaller chambers branching off at random. Underfoot was bare earth and pallets of wine were neatly and methodically stacked and plastic-wrapped against the damp.”

 

The 388 lots, which are expected to realise more than £800,000, comprise mainly French wines, with the core of the collection covering the two decades from 1990-2010, and the first growths of Lafite 1990, Latour 2000 and Margaux 2000 all represented.

 

Red bordeaux highlights include nine bottles of Le Pin 1989 (£16,000-£22,000); a dozen bottles of Pétrus 1995 (£16,000-£22,000); and three magnums of Lafite 2000 (£6,000-£7,500). A dozen half-bottles of Condrieu, Luminescence 1999 are among white rhône wines from the collection, while Italian offerings include Sori Tildin Gaja 1997 (10 bottles, £2,000-£2,600) and Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia 1999 and 2000, each estimated at £1,600-£2,200 for 12 bottles.

The wine was stored in a cave in Luxembourg over some 20 years
The wine was stored in a cave in Luxembourg over some 20 years
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First-growth Château Latour 2000 also features
First-growth Château Latour 2000 also features
Inside the cavern, smaller chambers branched off at random
Inside the cavern, smaller chambers branched off at random
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