£120,000 bottle of wine on sale in London
... but you’ll need to get an expert from Australia to open it for you
One of the world’s rarest wines will go on sale in London today with a price tag of £120,000.
The Evening Standard had an exclusive preview of the special-edition red, made by Penfolds in Australia.
The 2004 Kalimna Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon comes in an ampoule fitted inside a cone. Only 12 exist.
The ampoules, housed in cabinets of Jarrah wood, are oxygen-free and said to create the perfect environment for the wine. They can only be opened by Penfolds chief winemaker Peter Gago — and he will travel anywhere in the world to do so.
One is in the winery’s museum, but another will go on sale at Hedonism Wines near Bond Street today, the store’s opening day.
Justin Knock, from the Institutes of Masters of Wine, said: “This is unique because it’s made from cabernet sauvignon vines planted in the mid-1880s, the oldest cabernet vineyard in the world.”
The vines, in the Moppa area of the Barossa Valley in South Australia, have a limited yield of high-quality fruit, meaning the winery rarely releases a vintage from them. Mr Gago said of the wine: “There is something really magical about it.
“It has an ethereal dimension and a saturated blackness on the palate, it’s extraordinarily perfumed with layer upon layer of flavour.” Hedonism stocks more than 3,500 wines, featuring some of the world’s most expensive vintages, and over 1,000 spirits. It also has a tasting room and a children’s play area. Other rare items for sale include a 27-litre bottle of Torbreck The Laird 2006, also from Barossa, which costs nearly £30,000 and is one of only two in the world.
‘It ripples in my mouth like rich chocolate’
As a wine novice, it is difficult not to feel a little intimidated when presented with thousands of pounds in a glass.
So I am relieved to find that I have the services of an expert to guide me.
We start the tasting of the special 2004 Kalimna Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon by taking in its strong perfume of fruit, which to my untrained nostrils, mainly smells of rich blackcurrant.
When I ask master of wine Justin Knock what the difference is between this Cabernet Sauvignon and those you can buy in the shops, he says it’s the concentration of flavour that makes it stand out.
He said: “It’s got real depth and purity. It’s almost a pure blackcurrant, you can taste real fruit. It’s all encompassing, it doesn’t just sit on the bottom of your tongue and disappear, the taste goes on and on.”
And when I take a sip, his explanation becomes clear — even to a novice.
Unlike any other that I have tried, the liquid and its flavour ripples through my mouth like rich chocolate but without cloying and with a lot more flavour.
As it glides down my throat, the flavour remains rich on my taste buds but at the same time it has a dryness to it.
The only problem with spending so much money on less than a litre of wine is that the experience is a temporary pleasure — especially if shared.
But to a wealthy wine lover with £120,000 to spare it shall certainly be a memorable one.