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Wine hidden at Czech castle offers taste of 1800s

Sommeliers have finally been given the chance to taste through 130 bottles of 19th century wines three decades after they were found hidden under the floorboards of a Czech castle.

The stash of fine and rare wines was hidden in the castle in Becov toward the end of World War II by its then owners, the Beaufort-Spontin family, to keep them safe from plundering soldiers, as reported by Reuters. 

The wines, which date back to the 1980s, were discovered in 1985 – 40 years after being hidden. Among the collection are Chateau d’Yquem vintages from 1892 – valued at up to 750,000 crowns ($31,000) per bottle – and 1896. Also in the collection was a bottle of Corton Charlemagne 1892 and Porto 1862, with the majority of the wines from the 1892 to 1899 vintages.

The collection has remained untouched, under the possession of the Czech authorities, for the past three decades – until now. Last week Czech authorities invited sommeliers to test the bottles for their value using wine sampling gadget Coravin, which allows wines to be extracted through a needle, without removing the cork.

Speaking to Reuters, Andreas Wickhoff MW and sommelier said the group was “thrilled” and “surprised” by the condition of the wines. “There was no, no sign of oxidation, the wines were in very, very stable condition.”

Some of the bottles are said to be worth over $30,000 with early estimates placing the value of the entire collection at over $1.2 million.

“These are from a different age made by people they are no longer with us in a time that is long gone,” said Coravin founder Greg Lambrecht.”It’s really a special thing, to taste something that has been put in the glass and sealed with cork for that long, capturing that era”.

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