News - Trading - Thursday, October 19, 2023

Historic Wine Treasure Sold For €150,000 - Chateau Haut-Brion 1945

To the naked eye, it looks like a wooden case with 6 bottles of wine like so many others, but to connoisseurs, this is something quite extraordinary - a piece of French wine history if you will. Something as rare as 6 bottles of Haut-Brion in perfect condition and in the original wooden case of the epic 1945 vintage is certainly not conventional.

RareWine Group has just sold the 6 bottles of wine to an unnamed buyer for a price of around €150,000 ex. VAT, corresponding to a bottle price of €25,000 ex. VAT per bottle. The bottles have just left RareWine's warehouse in Vester Hassing and are coming across the border to a lucky buyer who wishes to remain anonymous.

"We handle the rarest and most exclusive wines imaginable on a daily basis, but this is the first time in the almost 20 years the company has existed that we have been in possession of an entire case of 1945 Haut-Brion, and even re-conditioned in perfect condition. It is a true unicorn from the post-war period, and probably the only one of its kind in the world," says Mads Jensen, CEO of RareWine Group, and adds that it can take years for such a bottle to turn up individually in bulk.

In 2020, the case and its contents were returned to Chateau Haut-Brion for re-conditioning, including verification, quality control, and cork replacement. Therefore, there can be no doubt about the authenticity or condition of the bottles. The fact that both the original case and bottles are in pristine condition means everything for the price of the 6 bottles, which together fetch a significantly higher price per bottle than loose bottles sold individually.

1945 Chateau Haut Brion Is Legendary

Chateau Haut-Brion is one of the four original 1. Cru's from the original 1855 Bordeaux classification with King Napoléon III's signature. In more than 100 years, the classification has only changed once, in 1973, when Chateau Mouton Rothchild was elevated from 2nd Cru to 1st Cru. Chateau Haut-Brion is also the only one of the original four that is not located in Medoc but in Graves.

For connoisseurs, 1945 is something of a legend in Bordeaux. The growing season was perfect: warm, dry, and sunny. Despite a hard frost on 2 May that reduced the quantities considerably, the quality was top notch, and the vintage ranks among the benchmark vintages for the area. 1945 is known as the ‘victory vintage’, referring to the end of World War II, which has also contributed to the legend of this fabled vintage.

What does wine costing €25,000 taste like?

Of course, it is not a wine or a vintage that many can boast of having tasted, but wine critic Neal Martin from the renowned Vinous has had the pleasure of reviewing the 1945 Haut-Brion in 2018 and most recently in 2019. On both occasions, he acknowledged this wine with nothing less than the magic 100 points, and he also emphasizes that the wine's drinking window extends another 20 years, if not longer.

 “It is blessed with the most beautiful bouquet you can imagine, effortless and natural, featuring woodland, red-berried fruits, a minerally quality, and a faint touch of leafiness. … One of the most harmonious wines I have ever consumed. Perfect. …  Beguiling in every way, this is a profound Haut-Brion that is absolutely flawless.”

Buyer's Market

Taste is one thing, but to justify a price tag of €150,000, the passionate buyer also gets a unique collector's item from one of the world's greatest wine brands. A piece of French agricultural history from the post-war period - and a good 4.5 liters of the highly scarce drops that may still be left from 1945. Indeed, there will never be more wine from 1945, which may lead to speculative openings.

"We're seeing a real 'buyer's market' in the wine market right now if you have money to invest. We're seeing some icons for sale that were previously impossible to find, and this presents opportunities for both passionate collectors and investors. The professional speculators are buying up right now as the wine market is taking a breather after the skyrocketing of the last couple of years - and that has also been the case here," Mads Jensen concludes.