World’s Most Expensive Champagne Sold At Auction Was Purchased By…

on 17/06/11 at 3:39 pm

Booze News

Buyan, Singapore’s Premier Russian Restaurant.

History was made when Buyan Russian Haute Cuisine & Caviar Bar located in the Republic of Singapore, won the world’s most expensive Champagne in a fierce bidding war. Buyan, which offers both inexpensive traditional Russian fare as well as Russian haute cuisine meant for the Tsars, has paid €30,000 (SGD43,630) for a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, which is believed to be 170 years old.

It has also paid €24,000 for the Juglar, a now-defunct house of champagne that used to be one of the favourites of Napoleon I. He awarded a gold medal to the House of Juglar in 1810, 19 years before the estate was bought over by Jacquesson.

The bottles, which were sold in an exclusive auction of the two best bottles tasted from the wreckage, by premier wine auction house Acker Merrall & Condit. They were part of a treasure of 145 wine bottles found by divers last year in a 19th century shipwreck off the Åland Islands, part of the autonomous Åland region in Finland. It is believed that the ship was bound for St. Petersburg, Russia and the precious cargo was meant for the Russian Tsar, Nicholas I.

These two bottles will be added to Buyan’s existing collection of seven bottles of 1907 Charles Heidsieck & Monopole Champagnes found in another shipwreck in the Baltic Sea. These were part of a Swedish cargo sunk by a German U-boat during World War I in 1916. These bottles were also on their way to the court of the last Tsar Nicholas II, great grandson of Nicholas I.

Another historical wine in Buyan’s possession is the oldest drinkable wine in Asia, a Vin Jaune from 1821, which will not be put up for sale. Buyan currently also owns 20 bottles of the world’s most rare vintage wines – some of which pre-date the two world wars and are actually available on the restaurant’s wine list including the likes of a 1877 Chateau Margaux, a 1854 and 1883 Lafite Rotschild and a 1859 Mouton Rothschild.

All 145 bottles discovered in the shipwreck were opened, tasted and re-corked with the best two bottles acquired by Buyan. These historical bottles which still have bubbles – indicative of their fine quality – will indeed be drunk one day, but not in the very near future. The Veuve Clicquot Champagne itself is said to have “notes of linden blossoms and lime peels” and was pronounced by world renowned Champagne expert Richard Juhlin, who tasted some of the bottles last year as, “…great… wonderful… with an intense aroma…”

Buyan is planning a grand unveiling of the bottles and other Russian memorabilia in September, and only the restaurant’s patrons in the fine dining area will be able to view them thereafter, (but not taste them of course).

Wine appreciation is a hobby that is garnering serious and passionate pursuers in Singapore, so Buyan’s ‘wine museum’ of sorts will allow its fine dining patrons access and view of these prized possessions. The Buyan team is thrilled to acquire the two bottles as additions to their collection and cannot wait to display these gems to the public.

Proceeds from the auction generated by the sale of the Champagne bottles will be channeled to charitable causes organised by the Åland Government, namely, environmental solutions for improving the quality of water in the seas and Marine archeology.

This is also in line with Buyan’s environmentally-friendly approach to farming methods of produce used within the restaurant, and Buyan being known as Singapore’s first paperless restaurant as it uses iPad menus rather than those printed on paper.

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