Wine wanderings 2 of 2

More wine notes.

• Late July, gold the metal sold for more than $1,600 an ounce. Gold the liquid—an 1811 bottle of Château d’Yquem sauternes—sold for $4,600 an ounce. Buyer: Christian Vanneque, a French wine collector who operates a restaurant in Bali, Indonesia.

Vanneque bought bottle at auction for record price of $117,000 and says he will display it in climate-controlled, bullet-proof case in his restaurant. He claims no intention of selling the wine. Rather, he plans to drink it in 2017 to celebrate 50th anniversary of his start in wine and restaurant business.

“I will never resell it, even if a wealthy Chinese gentleman or a rich man from the Middle East offers to buy it,” Vanneque told Wall Street Journal. “I’m not a fancy collector. I’m not rich. I work very hard … Wine is for drinking.”

Okay, but when you pay $117,000 for a bottle, it strains credulity to aver you are not rich. Previous record was $100,000 in 2006, also for a bottle of Château d’Yquem, vintage 1787.

• U.S. domestic wine sales grow almost as fast as Chinese economy. In July, four-week growth rate for wine sales was 9.1 percent higher than same month last year. China’s economy grew at 9.5 percent.

Bottles priced more than $20 had biggest boom—32 percent higher than same time last year.

Domestic wines led charge, while imports barely increased. In past year, Argentina enjoyed 29 percent growth, but France tumbled 10 percent and Australia five percent. Look for French/Aussie bargains.


• Barton & Guestier Sauternes. Lightly sweet, orange-lemon; medium body; entry-level sauterns: $26. (Up-side: buy more than 4,500 bottles of this for price of one bottle 1811 Yquem.)

• Three Saints Cabernet Sauvignon Happy Canyon. Blackberry, sage nose; ripe plums, pepper, vanilla, chocolate; rustic; soft tannins. $21

• Domaine Billaud-Simon Petite Chablis. Floral nose, pears; citrus acidity, smoky minerals; clean, classy, balanced. $28

• Rombauer Chardonnay Carneros. Pears, apples, melons, kiss of sweetness; plenty toasty oak; full-body, creamy. $47