October Newsletter-The most expensive bottle never sold

The most expensive bottles of wine ever sold…..or not!

One the most expensive bottles of wine ever to be to be sold at $156,000 was from Bordeaux, a Chateau Lafitte from1787 with the initials “Th.J”“engraved on it.  These initials matched the name of one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, and Ambassador to France, Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson lived in France from 1784 to 1789 where he developed a love for French wine.  His diaries show his interest in wine and viticulture and he traveled to several of the major wine regions in France.  It is speculated that he arranged the travel as a way to recover from his various illnesses and needed to get away from Paris. In actuality, he had fallen in love with French wine after being introduced to a bottle of Chateau Haut Brion (also in Bordeaux) by his friend and his predecessor as Ambassador to France, Benjamin Franklin.

Thomas Jefferson arrived in Bordeaux in 1787 and stayed at the Hotel Richelieu (sadly, the building is no longer a hotel), and documented his visits to various vineyards, including Chateau Haut Brion in Pessac.  He also ordered several cases of Chateau d’Yquem (Sauternes), Chateau Lafitte, and Haut Brion.  This may have been the beginning of a love affair between Americans and the fine wines of Bordeaux.  Today, Thomas Jefferson’s visit is commemorated with a plaque at the U.S. Consulate in Bordeaux to commemorate “French-American friendship”.

During his travels, Jefferson also visited Chateau Margaux and a bottle of wine from the 1787 vintage, also reputed to belong to Jefferson, was to be showcased at a fine wine dinner for selected high paying guests in New York in 1989. The guests were eager to taste this fine wine and waited impatiently for the moment of uncorking.  Unfortunately, the wine merchant who owned the bottle must have let his nerves get the best of him. As he approached the eager guests to be served, he dropped the bottle and the fine wine flowed out onto a fine carpet making it the most expensive wine that was never sold!!!

Join us on our April tour of Bordeaux as we walk in the footsteps of Thomas Jefferson, including a visit to La Cite du Vin which has dedicated an auditorium to this famous lover of Bordeaux wines. We promise to be very careful while decanting the fine wines!

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