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£12k bottle of wine may be undrinkable

By Lia Sanders on 2/06/15 11:00 AM

A rare bottle of wine which sold for £12,000 at auction last week may be “undrinkable”.

The Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1945 was sold to a private collector in Europe by auction house Bonhams for £11,750 – that’s roughly £1,000 per glass.

This was at the low end of expectations because the wine might have become oxidized, according to Richard Harvey, Bonhams’ global head of wine. Had the wine been in better condition it might have sold for double the £10,000 – £15,000 range Bonhams had estimated.

The ullage – the space between the wine and the cork – was below the bottle’s neck “which points to an increased chance of the wine being oxidized and undrinkable,” said Harvey in an interview before the sale.

Even if it is spoiled, the bottle has value because of the “V” on its label, indicating both the victory of the allied troops over Nazi Germany and the victory of the Bordeaux vineyards over difficult weather conditions.

A jeroboam – a bottle size sometimes known as a “double magnum” – of the Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1945 sold for $114,614 (£75,449) in 1997 which equates to $23,000 for a standard 750ml bottle.