A rare case of wartime Chateau Latour is expected to provide the main draw in Bonhams' Fine and Rare Wines auction on October 25.
The London sale will feature the case among its highest valued lots, with Bonhams expecting it to bring £4,000-4,800 ($6,400-7,700). A second lot of six bottles of the 1944 vintage will follow, estimated at £2,000-2,600.
The bottles have all been professionally stored and are in remarkable condition given their age. The same cellar has also brought six bottles of the 1934 Christopher's Grande Fine Champagne Cognac to the auction, valued at £1,800-2,400 ($2,900-3,800).
The grapes used in Latour's 1944 vintage would have been harvested during the Nazi occupation of France, while both the Allies and French resistance endeavoured to liberate Bordeaux. The Bordeaux region had been under German control for much of the war, yet continued to produce its world-famous wines.
Wartime wines rarely appear at auction, with the majority already long since consumed by their owners. It is especially rare to find a complete case of an illustrious wine such as Latour.
One of the most expensive Bordeaux wines ever sold was a case of the 1945 from Chateau Mouton Rothschild, which sold for $260,000 ($28,750 per bottle) in 2006. In 2009, a collection of wines that were hidden from the German forces on the island of Guernsey were sold at a London auction - six bottles of Chateau Latour from 1926 sold for £1,300, returning home with the French buyer.
As well as some great vintages from the Bordeaux region, it was the second world war that saw California's Napa wines first brought to the attention of discerning palettes. The lack of quality wines in France caused collectors to look elsewhere and led to strong investment in the Napa Valley vineyards.
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