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El Bulli to auction off cellar

El Bulli – voted the world’s best restaurant four years in a row – is to sell off its 10,000-bottle wine cellar at a Sotheby’s auction.

Sotheby’s has yet to reveal when and where the auction will take place.

The three Michelin-starred restaurant near the town of Roses, 160km north of Barcelona, closed its doors last July, having operated at a loss since 2000.

It is set to re-open in 2014 as a culinary think tank, where former head chef Ferran Adrià, 50, will investigate and develop new cooking techniques.

The 139-page, 1,600-bin list features wines from classic regions like Bordeaux, Burgundy and Piedmont, alongside cult Californian wines, rare Sherries and Spanish icon wines such as L’Ermita, Pingus, and Vega Sicilia Unico.

Pingus; one of the wines in the El Bulli cellar

Compiled by Adrià’s business partner Juli Soler, wines ranged in price from €21.40 to €5,350 for Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti 1999. Château Pétrus 2000 was also on the list for €3,745 a bottle.

Voted the best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine a record five times, El Bulli pushed the boundaries of contemporary cuisine for more than two decades with its off-the-wall dishes created using molecular gastronomy.

This popularity came at a cost. With staff fielding more than two million reservation requests a year, the public pressures of running a restaurant influenced Adrià’s decision to close.

“I’ve become tired of taking care of certain aspects of being a place that’s open to the public. As a commercial restaurateur, I have certain responsibilities.

“When people bring up the issue of reservations, I have to give some kind of explanation. We created a monster and it was time to find a way to tame it,” he said in 2010 on announcing the restaurant’s closure.

The El Bulli Foundation will grant 20-25 scholarships annually for chefs to spend a year working with Adrià on new creations, the results of which will be posted online.

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