Rare Find: A $30,000 Bottle Of Wine
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
Well, now back to some very good food, or drink, to be precise. To set the scene, it's 1947, France is still recovering from the second World War. At a vineyard in the Medoc region, a very special wine is bottled and begins to age and to grow in value.
At some unknown point later, this double-magnum bottle of Chateau Latour is bought by a wine enthusiast and restaurant owner from Tampa. It is lovingly deposited into the wine cellar at Bern's Steakhouse and forgotten until this year.
And to pick up the story, joining us now is Eric Renaud, who is the sommelier at Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa. Eric, welcome to the program.
Mr. ERIC RENAUD (Senior Sommelier, Bern's Steakhouse): Thank you, Robert.
SIEGEL: And to explain how a bottle of wine can be forgotten in a wine cellar, you have to describe for us, how big is this wine cellar? How big is Bern Steakhouse's wine collection?
Mr. RENAUD: The wine collection total is somewhere around a half-a-million bottles of wine over three different facilities. On the premise itself of the steakhouse, we're looking at about 110,000 bottles of wine.
SIEGEL: And tell us the story of how, among them, you found the double magnum of 1947 Chateau Latour.
Mr. RENAUD: Well, all of the sommeliers there, we often take turns and spend time searching the wine cellar for wines that have gotten misplaced. I found this bottle on a shelf, turned sideways with a few other bottles in front of it. Either someone hid it, maybe it rolled in that direction. When I unburied it, I saw the bottle and thought, oh my God, this is amazing.
SIEGEL: Not only amazing, this is valuable. You have valued this bottle, it's a double magnum, at $30,000. What leads you to believe that it's worth that much?
Mr. RENAUD: We just did some searches on the Internet of comparable bottles, comparable age. So we gave a hefty price tag of 30,000, though I think in other major markets, that bottle probably should be considerably more.
SIEGEL: But since it's such a large bottle, how many glasses of wine would we get from it? And let's get a unit price here.
Mr. RENAUD: We're looking at about 20 glasses of wine at five ounces.
SIEGEL: So it's only $1,500 a glass in that case.
Mr. RENAUD: Not too bad.
(Soundbite of laughter)
SIEGEL: If I were to spring for a share of that bottle, what would you tell me as a sommelier? What would you say I should be expecting in the taste of this fabulously expensive bottle of wine?
Mr. RENAUD: This bottle is going to drink many decades younger than it really is. This bottle is going to be big. It's going to be young. It's going to be rich.
SIEGEL: But wait a minute. Why should I want it to be young? Isn't the whole point I'm paying because it's old?
Mr. RENAUD: Well, that's the beauty of finding something of that age that is going to drink so youthful. Wine ages tremendously well in large formats. This wine is still young now and would drink well 50 years from now.
SIEGEL: So now that the word has gotten out about the $30,000 double magnum of Chateau Latour 1947, has anybody yet made a reservation and asked about the bottle?
Mr. RENAUD: We are fielding lots of phone calls. This will not be for sale until that wine list, with that bottle in it, hits the table. When it hits, the first person in who wants to purchase it can purchase it.
SIEGEL: Well, Eric Renaud, thank you very much for talking with us about it.
Mr. RENAUD: Thank you, I really appreciate it.
SIEGEL: Eric Renaud, who is a sommelier at Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa, where he discovered a double magnum of 1947 Chateau Latour. It'll be on the wine list for $30,000.
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