Friday, 5 July 2019

Meet the most expensive new-release wine the world

There is a new Bordeaux wine about to become the most expensive current release in the world. Apparently, it is not a scam, or a fraud.

Loic Pasquet, a maverick Bordeaux winemaker, is to release a new wine under his Liber Pater label that will go on sale for €30,000 - that's over $48,000 Australian - per bottle.

Yes, you read that right, per bottle.

Former Tetsuya's wine guru - and now Merivale sommelier - Stuart Halliday admitted on Twitter that he had never heard of Pasquier's Liber Pater label. Likewise, I had to do some furious research.

But Pasquet believes the market is ready pay more for his wine than Bordeaux first growths and Burgundy superstars.

Domaine de la Romanée Conti's Romanee-Conti Grand Cru, the most expensive current release wine in the world, sells for around $28,000 AUS a bottle.

Pasquet says the 550 bottles produced are an opportunity to taste what pre-phylloxera Bordeaux was like.

"I don't set the price, the market does," he told Wine-Searcher. Which is more than a little disingenuous.

"That's what you get with only 500 bottles produced," he said. "The wine turns into something else – for some it is like a piece of art. The 2015 will be the first vintage made from entirely autochthonous grapes from ungrafted vines; it is produced as wine was before phylloxera."

Of the total 550 bottles produced, only 240 will be sold now. The remaining bottles will be kept at the cellars for later release.

Pasquet uses grape varieties like castets (which has just been approved for use in certain Bordeaux appellations), tarney-coulant and pardotte.

The winemaker, known for his run-ins with local authorities, says anyone lucky enough to secure a bottle of the 2015 Liber Pater will be rewarded with a unique wine, unlike anything made over the past 150 years.

"We have succeeded in finding what must have been the pre-phylloxera taste, with ungrafted vines and using the viticultural techniques of the time," he said. "Great collectors want to taste wine as it was in the middle of the 19th century and now they can."

The 2015 Liber Pater grape component will see it fall outside the Graves appellation rules and it will carry the humble Vin de France logo. It was vinified in amphorae, given a two-month maceration and then aged for a further two and a half years. No oak was used in the process.

Pasquet says 12 bottles will be allocated to the US, another 12 to China, and so on.

The rarity of the wine obviously elevates the price. In some years Pasquiet does not release any wine at all. That said, this is an obscure wine with no long-term provenance. 


For me, no wine is worth anything like that being asked - but fools and their money are easily parted, so they tell me.

Liber Pater, or Free Father, takes its name from an ancient Roman God of wine.


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