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Joe Poisson

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1869 Chateau Lafite Rothschild

by Joe Poisson » Wed Mar 29, 2006 5:10 pm

Hi, I have two bottles of 1869 Chateau Lafite Rothschild and I just can't help but think that they are probably vinegar by now. Do you have any background on this vintage? The bottles are in great shape and there is no evidence of leakage, but I am quite apprehensive about serving an $11,000 bottle of vinegar to a guest. Obviously we would not charge if it was indeed bad, but I imagine we would be out a good deal of cash if that was the case.
Oh, just to fill you in, I am a F&B manager at a resort called Amangani...the bottles are not in my personal collection. (unfortunately)

Any info you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Joe Poisson
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Howie Hart

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Re: 1869 Chateau Lafite Rothschild

by Howie Hart » Wed Mar 29, 2006 5:34 pm

I am a fan of Lafite and am currently about half-way through a case of '75 that I purchased in'78. At my local library is a book that I have read 2 or 3 times, simply titled "Lafite". It is history of the estate with descriptions of exquisite meals served there over the years. I believe the 1869 was served at more than one of the events and there are tasting notes. See if you can find the book. If not, contact me and I'll retrieve it from my local library and forward you any pertinent info.
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François Audouze

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Re: 1869 Chateau Lafite Rothschild

by François Audouze » Wed Mar 29, 2006 6:23 pm

I own a magnum of Lafite 1869 and a bottle of Lafite 1869.
I will open one day these bottles, and I have full confidence in them, as 1869 was a very good year.
If the owner of the bottle that you mention would like to share a dinner with me, we could open our bottles. So no money would be involved.
Note : my cellar is quite big, so I know where is the magnum, but I have no idea where is the bottle. I just know that I have it somewhere.
Old wines are younger than what is generally considered
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Bob Henrick

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Re: 1869 Chateau Lafite Rothschild

by Bob Henrick » Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:09 pm

François Audouze wrote:deleted
Note : my cellar is quite big, so I know where is the magnum, but I have no idea where is the bottle. I just know that I have it somewhere.


Francois, we should all have this kind of problem? If only I were somehow able to have the pleasure of perusing your cellar. I am afraid though that a trip across the pond is out of the question at this time. :-(
Bob Henrick
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François Audouze

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Re: 1869 Chateau Lafite Rothschild

by François Audouze » Thu Mar 30, 2006 5:20 am

Bob,
My cellar is effectively something special, but I will make a comment.
I have never sold any wine as for me, it would be to betray them.
So, when I go in my cellar, I have 30 seconds of pride, and long minutes of stress, as I see that I will never be able to drink some precious bottles that I have.
It is why I have founded my dinners and recently the "Academy for Vintage Wines", in order that such old wines are drunk before they die. As the death comes always from the cork, one day without notice.
My pleasure would be that my wines are drunk before it is too late.
The candidates to drink them for free are an enormous army.
But I would be happy that amateurs help me to let some wines be consumed before it is too late.

This month, I will open with a friend a Chateau Chalon 1864 and he will bring a Lafite 1865. Both wines are very rare, so we will do what has to be done : drink wines before it is too late.
Old wines are younger than what is generally considered
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Bernard Roth

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Looks like some confusion...

by Bernard Roth » Fri Mar 31, 2006 4:50 pm

I take it that you have the bottles in the resort cellar and they've been there since before you took the job. Thus your predicament is how to handle return policy for a wine you cannot vouch for.

Does $11K refer to the wine list price or current auction estimate?

Somehow, the resort shold be able to put you in touch with the previous F&B director, and perhaps there is a record of the purchase order for the wine showing its source.

Ultimately, if you cannot assure provenance, then you are not going to be able to offer any useful information to a customer to help assuage risk. So you could sell one bottle, offering to open the second if it is bad. And if the second is bad, you do not charge the customer.
Regards,
Bernard Roth

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