The precious bottle of 1811 Château d’Yquem became the world's most valuable bottle of white wine, after it was sold for £75,000 in 2012.
So whoever is eventually charged with opening it - if Mr Vanneque decides to - will need to be incredibly careful with the delicate drink and hope that they don't drop the cork inside.
The 1811 Chateau d’Yquem has earned its hefty price tag after critics raved about it. The costly tipple is prized as one of the greatest wines in the history of Bordeaux and one of the most supreme vintages ever produced. It was rated the ultimate ‘100 points’ by wine critic Robert Parker and again 100 points by The Wine Spectator's Per-Henrik Mansson in 1999. But the 200-year-old bottle had to go through rigorous checks to establish its huge value.
The bottle was accompanied by a ’record of inspection’ and the label was examined and compared to the 1811 paper labels held in the files at the chateau. An inspection of the glass bottle confirmed that the shape, punt and colour appeared to be in accordance with other examples previously seen from the early vintages of the 19th century. In 1811, the Flaugergues Comet (aka The Great Comet of 1811) passed by the earth. Now 1811 has become the most well known of the so-called 'Comet Vintages.'
The pleasure derived from tasting Yquem is difficult to describe.
It offers a myriad of well-balanced, complex flavours that generate even more harmonies over time. The impression that remains is reminiscent of a quote from Frédéric Dard "the silence that follows a piece by Mozart, in which the listener remains suffused with the music". This reflects the fact that Château d'Yquem stays on the palate for a remarkable long time, providing a unique, prolonged pleasure. There is a lovely expression in French to describe Yquem's tremendously long aftertaste: il fait la queue du paon, which means that it spreads out like a peacock's tail.
It is always difficult to describe wine-tasting experiences with any precision. The senses of sight, smell, taste and touch are all stimulated virtually at the same time. While gifted tasters can identify some of the aromas and flavours in a glass of Yquem in an effort to define its complexity, they never really succeed in communicating its essence or explaining its mystery. Mere analysis, whether chemical or organoleptic, is not sufficient to account for Yquem's greatness. Yquem tells a unique story... It starts with the bouquet. Although not always very outgoing in young vintages, it is marked by fruit (apricot, mandarin, and occasionally tropical fruit) and oak (vanilla and toasty aromas). Older vintages, on the other hand, have an extraordinarily complex fragrance as soon as the bottle is opened, with hints of dried fruit (dried apricot, prune, stewed fruit, and marmalade), spice (cinnamon, saffron, and liquorice), and even flowers (lime blossom, etc.). The first impression of Château d'Yquem on the palate is always very silky, and often sumptuous. It then fills out, "coating the palate". This fine wine has a strong, but never overbearing character, with great elegance and poise. It always maintains a balance between sugar and acidity (sweetness and freshness). A touch of bitterness can also contribute to the overall harmony. Château d'Yquem's aftertaste is legendary, and it tells another story, which lasts and lasts…
Certain connoisseurs consider it outrageous to drink a young Yquem and believe that opening such a monumental wine before its thirtieth birthday is tantamount to a sacrilege. Others, on the contrary, think that Yquem can be enjoyed at all stages in its life.