Christie’s to auction government cellar

1st March, 2013 by Rupert Millar

Christie’s has said that it will be responsible for auctioning the wines from the UK government’s cellar.

Chateau Lator, vintage 1961

Chateau Lator, vintage 1961: © Christie’s Images Limited 2013

The wines have come from the government’s wine collection at Lancaster House near Buckingham Palace and are part of a collection used to entertain visiting dignitaries, including “Kings, Queens, Presidents and Prime Ministers”.

The sale will take place on 21 March at King Street. Particularly rare lots are included in the sale, with the highly sought after Latour 1961 (six bottles, £20,000-£30,000) expected to attract a lot of attention.

Other key lots include six bottles of 1970 Pétrus (£4,000-£6,000), a case of 1986 Mouton Rothschild (£5,000-£6,000) and a case of 1986 Le Pin (£7,500-£10,000).

Christie’s international director of wines, David Elswood, said: “This is a truly rare opportunity for buyers to have the chance to pull the cork from a bottle of very fine wine that comes with the unique storage provenance of the Government Hospitality Fund’s very own cellars.”

Govenment Hospitality Cellar

The government’s hospitality cellar: © Christie’s Images Limited 2013

The sale of wines is part of the cellar’s plans to make it self-funding. The government was recently reported to have bought nearly £50,000 worth of wine but had also sold off £44,000 worth.

Other recent revelations about the wine stored by the government cast a fascinating light on the use of wine in diplomacy.

One wine, a white Burgundy, once described as “soapy” was apparently served to President Barack Obama on his last state visit.

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