How good a glass of vintage wine that works out to be more than $8,000 a glass might taste?
A bottle of Liber Pater’s 2015 vintage wine, set to be released in September, will come with a cool price tag of €30,000 (about A$48,000) per bottle.
Sold in cases of six bottles, the rare cuvée is tagged as the most expensive wine in the world. Rightly so, as it will set you back the cost of, say, a brand-new Porsche 911. But, as the winemaker behind the label, Loïc Pasquet, has previously said, it’s like comparing a Ferrari to a Citroën.
While the average price of one of Liber Pater’s wines is around a few thousand dollars a bottle – which seems an affable price in comparison – just one bottle of the Liber Pater 2015 vintage trumps the cost of a whole case of what was previously Bordeaux’s most expensive wine from Château Pétrus.
Only 550 bottles of this exclusive wine will be produced from the 2.5-hectare estate in Graves, where Pasquet packs in 20,000 vines per hectare. While this ratio is far more vine-to-land than other Bordeaux wineries, the small estate has the capacity to produce only 1,200 bottles a year, significantly less than rival winemakers in the region.
There will be only 40 cases, with six bottles in each, in the first release of the 2015 vintage. You may even need to travel to France if you want to get your hands on a bottle, as only a small number will be exported – and much of it is already sold.
Pasquet uses unconventional, old techniques mostly long forgotten in the winemaking business. His vineyards are ungrafted, bearing fruit of rare yet traditional Bordeaux varietals that are mostly unheard of now – like almost-extinct castets, mancin, tarnay and pardotte.
Also, unconventionally, Liber Pater wine is aged in ancient clay amphorae rather than the more common oak barrels.
The winemaker claims he is trying to relinquish the “real taste” of a pre-19th century Bordeaux wine. That’s the wine prior to the phylloxera outbreak that hit France in the late 1800s, which wiped out much of its prized Bordeaux vineyards.
While Pasquet has managed to get his hands on the rare, ancient grapes, he can’t even call his wine AOC Graves from Bordeaux because these rare varietals aren’t even recognised by the French regulatory authorities. The 2015 bottle will be labelled as a Vin de France.
Pasquet is no stranger to controversy, though. He’s been in trouble for breaching winemaking rules, has been found guilty of fraud for falsifying receipts, and a few of his winemaking rivals have even destroyed some of his vines.
Despite this, one does wonder just how good a glass of vintage wine that works out to be more than $8,000 a glass might taste. I’d just hope I didn’t accidentally knock the glass over.