There’s a lot you can do with $142,131. You could buy 355 pairs of Common Projects sneakers. You could buy a Porsche Cayenne. You could stay at Mykonos’ most expensive villa for 20 nights in a row. You could buy around 178 bottles of Penfolds Grange 2014. You could buy more than 43 thousand Peronis.
Or… You could buy this 70-year-old bottle of Penfolds Grange from 1951.
While the rest of us sat wondering, one Sydney-based collector recently did exactly that at auction, setting a new record for the most expensive bottle of Australian wine ever sold.
The 70-year-old bottle of Penfolds Grange is from the first vintage of the iconic Grange Shiraz.
Interestingly, the vintage was first intended to be an experimental wine. Then history happened – and now Grange is the icon we know it as today.
The 70-year-old bottle was also signed by pioneering Australian winemaker and creator of Grange Hermitage, Max Schubert. Suffice to say, it’s very rare – hence the record-breaking $142,131 price tag.
Unfortunately for all you vicarious hedonists though, Penfolds Chief Winemaker Peter Gago told 4BC this bottle was bought to be collected, not drunk.
He also, however, revealed that the legendary 1952 and 1953 and 1955 Grange Hermitage vintages “currently offer magnificent hedonistic drinking enjoyment.” He would know, having tasted them over the years during re-corking missions.
Mr Gago also said it’s a testimony to Australian wine that these vintages from the 1950s are still looking as good as ever for drinking, bar the 1951 “experimental” one that just sold, which was an exploratory vintage (“that’s it’s raison d’etre”), and fetched its price out of its collectability.
“I really can’t emphasise enough that the ’52, ’53 and ’55 are incredulous drinking today – in January of 2021,” Mr Gago added.
“Isn’t that a wonderful thing for Australian red wine to say. These wines are looking as good as they ever have… They are still offering amazing drinking enjoyment. This isn’t just a matter of curio or rarity effect. These are great red wines.”
Another lovely thing to think about is, looking to the future, Mr Gago said wines will last even longer, given the improvements in today’s bottling and viticultural technology.
We’ll drink to that.