Liber Pater to release the most expensive wine in the worldBy Rupert Millar
Boutique Bordeaux producer Liber Pater is to release its next vintage at €30,000 a bottle, making it the most expensive wine in the world.
Just 550 bottles of the 2015 vintage have been produced from the Graves-based estate and only 240 are going to be released this September in batches of six to no more than 18 per export market.
Although not yet released physically, the wine has been on offer to buyers on the mailing list for the last six months and the final, incredible fee per bottle is thus a reflection of the demand for this new launch, which owner Loïc Pasquet said was on the level of a work of art.
Made from ungrafted, autochthonous varieties such as Castets, Tarney-Coulant and Pardotte that were once grown in Bordeaux, Liber Pater’s founder Loïc Pasquet claims he has recaptured the taste of true pre-Phylloxera Bordeaux.
Pasquet told the drinks business that he had even planted the varieties at the traditional higher planting density of 20,000 vines per hectare.
For reference, most vineyards in Bordeaux today would have 8,000-11,000 vines/ha and bush vines in arid conditions can be as low as 3,000-6,000 plants/ha.
But if much of the wine’s components are in the manner of the 19th century the use of amphorae in its production is rather less so.
The cuvée was vinified in clay vessels with a two-month maceration and then aged for a further two and a half years. The wine did not see any oak.
Although previous vintages have been labelled as AOC Graves, the more maverick nature of this vintage, including its use of grape varieties not authorised in the region’s cahiers de charge, means it has been bottled as a Vin de France.
And what of the price? At €30,000 a bottle (US$34,110/£26,200) it’s as much as an entire case of Petrus – normally the most expensive wine produced in Bordeaux.
It even puts the spiralling prices of grand cru Burgundy to shame, with the average price of a bottle of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s Romanée-Conti costing £16,000/$20,500 according to Wine-Searcher, where the story first appeared.
It even far, far outpaces the average price of Liber Pater’s wines, which already come in at £3,300/$4,200 a bottle.
Pasquet and Liber Pater have quite the reputation in Bordeaux. Pasquet’s desire to make wines his way has resulted in frequent run-ins with the INAO and CIVB although his last case against the INAO in 2017 he won on appeal.
He is also a stickler for quality, and since taking over the estate in 2005 has released only five vintages (2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011), with the 2015 being the sixth. No 2016 has been made and no 2017 either, the latter vintage being completely destroyed by frosted.
It is the first vintage released thus far made with the pre-Phylloxera varieties.
Quantities are always very small, as the entire vineyard surface covers just 2.5ha, maxing out at around 1,200 bottles at most and the wines have a devoted, high-paying following.