The Story of Atrio’s Chateau d’Yquem

On the night of the twenty-six of October 2021 a hotel in Atrio, Caceres, inside their two Michelin stars restaurant after having closed its doors just like every other day in the middle of the night the establishment’s world-famous bodega had been broken in.

As confirmed by their hosts Toño Perez and Jose Paolo two of the most respected professional hoteliers in Spain, somebody had entered on their bodega, a storehouse that holds one of the best wine collections in the whole of Spain, a collection 35 years in the making.

From their collection of 37.000 bottles of wine from 21 different countries that creates a menu of almost 380 pages, the thieves took 45 of their most exclusive bottles, crown jewels of the Atrio.

Among those bottles, there was an exceptionally unique bottle, stored in its own private room in the innermost section of the bodega, that bottle was an 1806 Chateau d’Yquem, acquired in 2000 at the prestigious auction house of Christie’s in London for 12.000 dollars, considered among the most ancient bottles in wine history, the only one with a “Premier Grand Cru Classé Supérieur” qualification, marking as a growth of wine way beyond even above even the most rarest wines that come from Bordeaux.

A Chardonney white wine produced in the regions of Sauternes in the most meridional zones of Bordeaux, with an almost “amber-like” like color, is made from shriveled, overripe grapes and this produces a very sweet, concentrated wine that has the capability remaining drinkable for many years, on its menu it had a price of 310.000 euros, but its owners emphasized that its real worth was priceless.

This particular 1806 bottle is also known for its infamous 2001 accident, that almost make the Spaniards lose their newly acquired bottle the very moment it arrived at their doorstep.

The issue was on the makeshift of the bottle, in the beginning of the nineteenth century, the bottles where hand crafted by artisans and because of that there was no standardization on its sizes and the chateau’s bottle was uniquely taller than the rest of the lot, because of that its bottle once set up on its wooden box and closed it tragically broke its neck, but mercifully its plastic wrap protected the precious liquid, preventing its complete loss.

Afterwards the poor hosts entered into an almost action movie situation, a race against time to save the wine. First thing, they contacted the Yquem storehouse, from there the ecological manager of the site Madame Garbey advised them to immediately move its contains into another bottle, one that was both clean and dry in order to pass its contains from one container into the other.

In order to minimize the risks of mishap, Toño and Jose swiftly took the bottle and move by car from Caceres all the way to Bordeaux, in order to get an exact copy from the winemakers themselves, thought the new bottle was even bigger funnily enough, it was decided to fill the bottom with golden glass pearls to make use of the empty space, finally this new bottle was newly certified by the manager proving its safe restoration.

And before the theft both the bottle and its old replacement where both exhibited in the bodega.

But now that the bottle its has been stolen the cynic in me has to ask himself, “Is this a marketing scheme?”, it reminds me of the Banksy accident and his shredded picture that became even more valuable after the showy damage and with all the economic devastation thanks to the pandemic it wouldn’t surprise that some people would want grab the world’s attention to increase their profits, if that’s the case I wouldn’t want to piss on the party, but is fun to speculate.

References:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptuQE0rYhoo – Chateau d’yquem – World Expensive Wine
  2. https://elpais.com/gente/2021-10-28/jose-polo-sumiller-de-atrio-sobre-el-robo-de-sus-45-botellas-joya-sientes-una-desnudez-como-si-te-hubiesen-violado.html?ssm=whatsapp
  3. https://www.elespanol.com/cocinillas/vinos/20211028/historia-chateau-dyquem-robado-atrio-unico-mundo/622938651_0.html
  4. https://www.elespanol.com/cocinillas/vinos/20211028/historia-chateau-dyquem-robado-atrio-unico-mundo/622938651_0.html

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