They include such sought-after tipples as Chateau Lafite Rothschild (1970, 1982 and 1997), and Chateau Cheval Blanc (1928, 1949 and 1966).
La Tour d’Argent, which enjoys an enviable position overlooking Notre Dame cathedral, is a fixture on the Paris dining circuit. It dates back to 1582 and is most famous for its pressed duck.
The bottles for sale were selected from the 450,000 or so that are kept in what is one of the world’s largest and finest cellars. The restaurant says it wants to cut down, vary and modernise its selection.
The auction, set for December 7th and 8th, has captured the imagination of France’s connoisseurs of the grape. A spokesman for the auctioneers said:
“To wine lovers, these cellars are like Mecca, like a cathedral. It’s the holy of holies.”
Some very old spirits will also be sold. When four bottles of 1875 Armagnac Vieux were finally unearthed from the labyrinthine wine cellar, they were found to be covered in a black fungus that looked like matted cat fur.
But they are not the oldest lots in the auction. There are three bottles of a Clos du Griffier cognac from 1788 – the year before the French Revolution. The starting price is 2,500 euros (£2,250/$3,685) a bottle.
It’s thought the whole sale will fetch up to a million euros (£900,000/ $1.47 million).
by Andy Moreton
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