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Would You Bid $15,000 for a Bottle of 100-Year-Old Champagne?

Would You Bid $15,000 for a Bottle of 100-Year-Old Champagne?


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The winner of the auction will also receive a trip to tour the Krug Champagne house in France

The Krug champagne house is in Reims, France.

If you are a fan of finer things in life, like expensive Champagne, you might want to see this 100-year-old bottle of Krug Champagne.

On September 25, Sotheby’s New York will be showcasing a rare bottle of Krug from 1915, and the historic auction house has set the starting bid at $15,000. “Krugists,” fans of the Champagne house, are encouraged to bid on this antique bottle, although it’s not the oldest one around — scientists actually discovered a 150-year-old bottle of Champagne in a shipwreck.

The winner of the bid will also receive a two-day trip to tour the Krug Champagne house in Reims, France, with three friends. The tour will be led by Olivier Krug, sixth-generation member of the Krug family. Of course, there will be Champagne tastings — including one of the last four remaining bottles of Private Cuvée 1915.

Champagne, which is fermented with carbon dioxide bubbles, is also traditionally made in Champagne, France, from chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier grapes.


Prices go through the roof as Parisian restaurant clears cellar space

They were some of the world's finest wines from the renowned cellar one of the world's finest restaurants. But as the gavel fell on the first of 18,000 bottles being auctioned by the celebrated Tour d'Argent restaurant, there was not a drop of the stuff to be seen anywhere. "You don't bring a 100-year-old bottle of wine out and start waving it around an auction room," said one wine collector among the bidders.

In fact, the stars of this sale were some way from the gilt and marble halls of the Paris auctioneers in a dark, cool cellar across the other side of the city. After all, these were no ordinary bottles of wine. The 427-year-old Tour d'Argent – the French capital's oldest restaurant – is famous for the quality of its cellars, the maze of dark alleys below the restaurant that house about 450,000 bottles of wines, champagnes and spirits. This was stock it had decided to sell off to make room for other vintages.

Its British chief sommelier, David Ridgway, said: "The easiest comparison is that of a vine for the wine to grow strongly, you have to cut it back."

But while ordinary wine lovers had been encouraged to come to bid for a bottle or two they might enjoy over Christmas, the extraordinary prices put most of the lots beyond the reach of all but the connoisseurs and collectors.

It was not only the Chateau Lafite Rothschild, the Chateau Margaux, the 1858 Grande Fine Champagne Monnet or the 1788 Vieux Cognac listed at €3,000 (£2,700) that set the electronic bidding board spinning. More recent and less coveted bottles provoked a flutter of cards making bids jump €50, sometimes €100-200 a time.

For Helena Puolakka and her husband Tuukka, who had visited from London for the day in the hope of picking up a bottle or two, it was a great disappointment.

"We have been going to the Tour d'Argent to eat for many years and we know they have wines there that you cannot find anywhere else in the world," said Helena, a chef from Finland. "But, at these prices, it's cheaper to buy the wine in the restaurant." Her husband said: "To be honest, the prices have gone through the roof. They are ridiculous."

Marc Verchere, a private wine collector from Paris, was also disappointed. "I just hope the people paying these prices are going to drink the wine and not put in on the mantelpiece so they can tell everyone it came from the Tour d'Argent," he said.

Wine experts said prices were high because almost all of the wine had never been previously moved from the Tour d'Argent's cellars, where it has been preserved in perfect conditions.

It is not only the wine list that makes the restaurant famous: it has served its signature dish of pressed duck served in its own blood to a colourful succession of celebrities including French King Louis XIV, Russian Tsar Nicolas II, the Prussian Prince Bismarck, Sir Winston Churchill and American presidents Franklin D Roosevelt and John Kennedy.


Prices go through the roof as Parisian restaurant clears cellar space

They were some of the world's finest wines from the renowned cellar one of the world's finest restaurants. But as the gavel fell on the first of 18,000 bottles being auctioned by the celebrated Tour d'Argent restaurant, there was not a drop of the stuff to be seen anywhere. "You don't bring a 100-year-old bottle of wine out and start waving it around an auction room," said one wine collector among the bidders.

In fact, the stars of this sale were some way from the gilt and marble halls of the Paris auctioneers in a dark, cool cellar across the other side of the city. After all, these were no ordinary bottles of wine. The 427-year-old Tour d'Argent – the French capital's oldest restaurant – is famous for the quality of its cellars, the maze of dark alleys below the restaurant that house about 450,000 bottles of wines, champagnes and spirits. This was stock it had decided to sell off to make room for other vintages.

Its British chief sommelier, David Ridgway, said: "The easiest comparison is that of a vine for the wine to grow strongly, you have to cut it back."

But while ordinary wine lovers had been encouraged to come to bid for a bottle or two they might enjoy over Christmas, the extraordinary prices put most of the lots beyond the reach of all but the connoisseurs and collectors.

It was not only the Chateau Lafite Rothschild, the Chateau Margaux, the 1858 Grande Fine Champagne Monnet or the 1788 Vieux Cognac listed at €3,000 (£2,700) that set the electronic bidding board spinning. More recent and less coveted bottles provoked a flutter of cards making bids jump €50, sometimes €100-200 a time.

For Helena Puolakka and her husband Tuukka, who had visited from London for the day in the hope of picking up a bottle or two, it was a great disappointment.

"We have been going to the Tour d'Argent to eat for many years and we know they have wines there that you cannot find anywhere else in the world," said Helena, a chef from Finland. "But, at these prices, it's cheaper to buy the wine in the restaurant." Her husband said: "To be honest, the prices have gone through the roof. They are ridiculous."

Marc Verchere, a private wine collector from Paris, was also disappointed. "I just hope the people paying these prices are going to drink the wine and not put in on the mantelpiece so they can tell everyone it came from the Tour d'Argent," he said.

Wine experts said prices were high because almost all of the wine had never been previously moved from the Tour d'Argent's cellars, where it has been preserved in perfect conditions.

It is not only the wine list that makes the restaurant famous: it has served its signature dish of pressed duck served in its own blood to a colourful succession of celebrities including French King Louis XIV, Russian Tsar Nicolas II, the Prussian Prince Bismarck, Sir Winston Churchill and American presidents Franklin D Roosevelt and John Kennedy.


Prices go through the roof as Parisian restaurant clears cellar space

They were some of the world's finest wines from the renowned cellar one of the world's finest restaurants. But as the gavel fell on the first of 18,000 bottles being auctioned by the celebrated Tour d'Argent restaurant, there was not a drop of the stuff to be seen anywhere. "You don't bring a 100-year-old bottle of wine out and start waving it around an auction room," said one wine collector among the bidders.

In fact, the stars of this sale were some way from the gilt and marble halls of the Paris auctioneers in a dark, cool cellar across the other side of the city. After all, these were no ordinary bottles of wine. The 427-year-old Tour d'Argent – the French capital's oldest restaurant – is famous for the quality of its cellars, the maze of dark alleys below the restaurant that house about 450,000 bottles of wines, champagnes and spirits. This was stock it had decided to sell off to make room for other vintages.

Its British chief sommelier, David Ridgway, said: "The easiest comparison is that of a vine for the wine to grow strongly, you have to cut it back."

But while ordinary wine lovers had been encouraged to come to bid for a bottle or two they might enjoy over Christmas, the extraordinary prices put most of the lots beyond the reach of all but the connoisseurs and collectors.

It was not only the Chateau Lafite Rothschild, the Chateau Margaux, the 1858 Grande Fine Champagne Monnet or the 1788 Vieux Cognac listed at €3,000 (£2,700) that set the electronic bidding board spinning. More recent and less coveted bottles provoked a flutter of cards making bids jump €50, sometimes €100-200 a time.

For Helena Puolakka and her husband Tuukka, who had visited from London for the day in the hope of picking up a bottle or two, it was a great disappointment.

"We have been going to the Tour d'Argent to eat for many years and we know they have wines there that you cannot find anywhere else in the world," said Helena, a chef from Finland. "But, at these prices, it's cheaper to buy the wine in the restaurant." Her husband said: "To be honest, the prices have gone through the roof. They are ridiculous."

Marc Verchere, a private wine collector from Paris, was also disappointed. "I just hope the people paying these prices are going to drink the wine and not put in on the mantelpiece so they can tell everyone it came from the Tour d'Argent," he said.

Wine experts said prices were high because almost all of the wine had never been previously moved from the Tour d'Argent's cellars, where it has been preserved in perfect conditions.

It is not only the wine list that makes the restaurant famous: it has served its signature dish of pressed duck served in its own blood to a colourful succession of celebrities including French King Louis XIV, Russian Tsar Nicolas II, the Prussian Prince Bismarck, Sir Winston Churchill and American presidents Franklin D Roosevelt and John Kennedy.


Prices go through the roof as Parisian restaurant clears cellar space

They were some of the world's finest wines from the renowned cellar one of the world's finest restaurants. But as the gavel fell on the first of 18,000 bottles being auctioned by the celebrated Tour d'Argent restaurant, there was not a drop of the stuff to be seen anywhere. "You don't bring a 100-year-old bottle of wine out and start waving it around an auction room," said one wine collector among the bidders.

In fact, the stars of this sale were some way from the gilt and marble halls of the Paris auctioneers in a dark, cool cellar across the other side of the city. After all, these were no ordinary bottles of wine. The 427-year-old Tour d'Argent – the French capital's oldest restaurant – is famous for the quality of its cellars, the maze of dark alleys below the restaurant that house about 450,000 bottles of wines, champagnes and spirits. This was stock it had decided to sell off to make room for other vintages.

Its British chief sommelier, David Ridgway, said: "The easiest comparison is that of a vine for the wine to grow strongly, you have to cut it back."

But while ordinary wine lovers had been encouraged to come to bid for a bottle or two they might enjoy over Christmas, the extraordinary prices put most of the lots beyond the reach of all but the connoisseurs and collectors.

It was not only the Chateau Lafite Rothschild, the Chateau Margaux, the 1858 Grande Fine Champagne Monnet or the 1788 Vieux Cognac listed at €3,000 (£2,700) that set the electronic bidding board spinning. More recent and less coveted bottles provoked a flutter of cards making bids jump €50, sometimes €100-200 a time.

For Helena Puolakka and her husband Tuukka, who had visited from London for the day in the hope of picking up a bottle or two, it was a great disappointment.

"We have been going to the Tour d'Argent to eat for many years and we know they have wines there that you cannot find anywhere else in the world," said Helena, a chef from Finland. "But, at these prices, it's cheaper to buy the wine in the restaurant." Her husband said: "To be honest, the prices have gone through the roof. They are ridiculous."

Marc Verchere, a private wine collector from Paris, was also disappointed. "I just hope the people paying these prices are going to drink the wine and not put in on the mantelpiece so they can tell everyone it came from the Tour d'Argent," he said.

Wine experts said prices were high because almost all of the wine had never been previously moved from the Tour d'Argent's cellars, where it has been preserved in perfect conditions.

It is not only the wine list that makes the restaurant famous: it has served its signature dish of pressed duck served in its own blood to a colourful succession of celebrities including French King Louis XIV, Russian Tsar Nicolas II, the Prussian Prince Bismarck, Sir Winston Churchill and American presidents Franklin D Roosevelt and John Kennedy.


Prices go through the roof as Parisian restaurant clears cellar space

They were some of the world's finest wines from the renowned cellar one of the world's finest restaurants. But as the gavel fell on the first of 18,000 bottles being auctioned by the celebrated Tour d'Argent restaurant, there was not a drop of the stuff to be seen anywhere. "You don't bring a 100-year-old bottle of wine out and start waving it around an auction room," said one wine collector among the bidders.

In fact, the stars of this sale were some way from the gilt and marble halls of the Paris auctioneers in a dark, cool cellar across the other side of the city. After all, these were no ordinary bottles of wine. The 427-year-old Tour d'Argent – the French capital's oldest restaurant – is famous for the quality of its cellars, the maze of dark alleys below the restaurant that house about 450,000 bottles of wines, champagnes and spirits. This was stock it had decided to sell off to make room for other vintages.

Its British chief sommelier, David Ridgway, said: "The easiest comparison is that of a vine for the wine to grow strongly, you have to cut it back."

But while ordinary wine lovers had been encouraged to come to bid for a bottle or two they might enjoy over Christmas, the extraordinary prices put most of the lots beyond the reach of all but the connoisseurs and collectors.

It was not only the Chateau Lafite Rothschild, the Chateau Margaux, the 1858 Grande Fine Champagne Monnet or the 1788 Vieux Cognac listed at €3,000 (£2,700) that set the electronic bidding board spinning. More recent and less coveted bottles provoked a flutter of cards making bids jump €50, sometimes €100-200 a time.

For Helena Puolakka and her husband Tuukka, who had visited from London for the day in the hope of picking up a bottle or two, it was a great disappointment.

"We have been going to the Tour d'Argent to eat for many years and we know they have wines there that you cannot find anywhere else in the world," said Helena, a chef from Finland. "But, at these prices, it's cheaper to buy the wine in the restaurant." Her husband said: "To be honest, the prices have gone through the roof. They are ridiculous."

Marc Verchere, a private wine collector from Paris, was also disappointed. "I just hope the people paying these prices are going to drink the wine and not put in on the mantelpiece so they can tell everyone it came from the Tour d'Argent," he said.

Wine experts said prices were high because almost all of the wine had never been previously moved from the Tour d'Argent's cellars, where it has been preserved in perfect conditions.

It is not only the wine list that makes the restaurant famous: it has served its signature dish of pressed duck served in its own blood to a colourful succession of celebrities including French King Louis XIV, Russian Tsar Nicolas II, the Prussian Prince Bismarck, Sir Winston Churchill and American presidents Franklin D Roosevelt and John Kennedy.


Prices go through the roof as Parisian restaurant clears cellar space

They were some of the world's finest wines from the renowned cellar one of the world's finest restaurants. But as the gavel fell on the first of 18,000 bottles being auctioned by the celebrated Tour d'Argent restaurant, there was not a drop of the stuff to be seen anywhere. "You don't bring a 100-year-old bottle of wine out and start waving it around an auction room," said one wine collector among the bidders.

In fact, the stars of this sale were some way from the gilt and marble halls of the Paris auctioneers in a dark, cool cellar across the other side of the city. After all, these were no ordinary bottles of wine. The 427-year-old Tour d'Argent – the French capital's oldest restaurant – is famous for the quality of its cellars, the maze of dark alleys below the restaurant that house about 450,000 bottles of wines, champagnes and spirits. This was stock it had decided to sell off to make room for other vintages.

Its British chief sommelier, David Ridgway, said: "The easiest comparison is that of a vine for the wine to grow strongly, you have to cut it back."

But while ordinary wine lovers had been encouraged to come to bid for a bottle or two they might enjoy over Christmas, the extraordinary prices put most of the lots beyond the reach of all but the connoisseurs and collectors.

It was not only the Chateau Lafite Rothschild, the Chateau Margaux, the 1858 Grande Fine Champagne Monnet or the 1788 Vieux Cognac listed at €3,000 (£2,700) that set the electronic bidding board spinning. More recent and less coveted bottles provoked a flutter of cards making bids jump €50, sometimes €100-200 a time.

For Helena Puolakka and her husband Tuukka, who had visited from London for the day in the hope of picking up a bottle or two, it was a great disappointment.

"We have been going to the Tour d'Argent to eat for many years and we know they have wines there that you cannot find anywhere else in the world," said Helena, a chef from Finland. "But, at these prices, it's cheaper to buy the wine in the restaurant." Her husband said: "To be honest, the prices have gone through the roof. They are ridiculous."

Marc Verchere, a private wine collector from Paris, was also disappointed. "I just hope the people paying these prices are going to drink the wine and not put in on the mantelpiece so they can tell everyone it came from the Tour d'Argent," he said.

Wine experts said prices were high because almost all of the wine had never been previously moved from the Tour d'Argent's cellars, where it has been preserved in perfect conditions.

It is not only the wine list that makes the restaurant famous: it has served its signature dish of pressed duck served in its own blood to a colourful succession of celebrities including French King Louis XIV, Russian Tsar Nicolas II, the Prussian Prince Bismarck, Sir Winston Churchill and American presidents Franklin D Roosevelt and John Kennedy.


Prices go through the roof as Parisian restaurant clears cellar space

They were some of the world's finest wines from the renowned cellar one of the world's finest restaurants. But as the gavel fell on the first of 18,000 bottles being auctioned by the celebrated Tour d'Argent restaurant, there was not a drop of the stuff to be seen anywhere. "You don't bring a 100-year-old bottle of wine out and start waving it around an auction room," said one wine collector among the bidders.

In fact, the stars of this sale were some way from the gilt and marble halls of the Paris auctioneers in a dark, cool cellar across the other side of the city. After all, these were no ordinary bottles of wine. The 427-year-old Tour d'Argent – the French capital's oldest restaurant – is famous for the quality of its cellars, the maze of dark alleys below the restaurant that house about 450,000 bottles of wines, champagnes and spirits. This was stock it had decided to sell off to make room for other vintages.

Its British chief sommelier, David Ridgway, said: "The easiest comparison is that of a vine for the wine to grow strongly, you have to cut it back."

But while ordinary wine lovers had been encouraged to come to bid for a bottle or two they might enjoy over Christmas, the extraordinary prices put most of the lots beyond the reach of all but the connoisseurs and collectors.

It was not only the Chateau Lafite Rothschild, the Chateau Margaux, the 1858 Grande Fine Champagne Monnet or the 1788 Vieux Cognac listed at €3,000 (£2,700) that set the electronic bidding board spinning. More recent and less coveted bottles provoked a flutter of cards making bids jump €50, sometimes €100-200 a time.

For Helena Puolakka and her husband Tuukka, who had visited from London for the day in the hope of picking up a bottle or two, it was a great disappointment.

"We have been going to the Tour d'Argent to eat for many years and we know they have wines there that you cannot find anywhere else in the world," said Helena, a chef from Finland. "But, at these prices, it's cheaper to buy the wine in the restaurant." Her husband said: "To be honest, the prices have gone through the roof. They are ridiculous."

Marc Verchere, a private wine collector from Paris, was also disappointed. "I just hope the people paying these prices are going to drink the wine and not put in on the mantelpiece so they can tell everyone it came from the Tour d'Argent," he said.

Wine experts said prices were high because almost all of the wine had never been previously moved from the Tour d'Argent's cellars, where it has been preserved in perfect conditions.

It is not only the wine list that makes the restaurant famous: it has served its signature dish of pressed duck served in its own blood to a colourful succession of celebrities including French King Louis XIV, Russian Tsar Nicolas II, the Prussian Prince Bismarck, Sir Winston Churchill and American presidents Franklin D Roosevelt and John Kennedy.


Prices go through the roof as Parisian restaurant clears cellar space

They were some of the world's finest wines from the renowned cellar one of the world's finest restaurants. But as the gavel fell on the first of 18,000 bottles being auctioned by the celebrated Tour d'Argent restaurant, there was not a drop of the stuff to be seen anywhere. "You don't bring a 100-year-old bottle of wine out and start waving it around an auction room," said one wine collector among the bidders.

In fact, the stars of this sale were some way from the gilt and marble halls of the Paris auctioneers in a dark, cool cellar across the other side of the city. After all, these were no ordinary bottles of wine. The 427-year-old Tour d'Argent – the French capital's oldest restaurant – is famous for the quality of its cellars, the maze of dark alleys below the restaurant that house about 450,000 bottles of wines, champagnes and spirits. This was stock it had decided to sell off to make room for other vintages.

Its British chief sommelier, David Ridgway, said: "The easiest comparison is that of a vine for the wine to grow strongly, you have to cut it back."

But while ordinary wine lovers had been encouraged to come to bid for a bottle or two they might enjoy over Christmas, the extraordinary prices put most of the lots beyond the reach of all but the connoisseurs and collectors.

It was not only the Chateau Lafite Rothschild, the Chateau Margaux, the 1858 Grande Fine Champagne Monnet or the 1788 Vieux Cognac listed at €3,000 (£2,700) that set the electronic bidding board spinning. More recent and less coveted bottles provoked a flutter of cards making bids jump €50, sometimes €100-200 a time.

For Helena Puolakka and her husband Tuukka, who had visited from London for the day in the hope of picking up a bottle or two, it was a great disappointment.

"We have been going to the Tour d'Argent to eat for many years and we know they have wines there that you cannot find anywhere else in the world," said Helena, a chef from Finland. "But, at these prices, it's cheaper to buy the wine in the restaurant." Her husband said: "To be honest, the prices have gone through the roof. They are ridiculous."

Marc Verchere, a private wine collector from Paris, was also disappointed. "I just hope the people paying these prices are going to drink the wine and not put in on the mantelpiece so they can tell everyone it came from the Tour d'Argent," he said.

Wine experts said prices were high because almost all of the wine had never been previously moved from the Tour d'Argent's cellars, where it has been preserved in perfect conditions.

It is not only the wine list that makes the restaurant famous: it has served its signature dish of pressed duck served in its own blood to a colourful succession of celebrities including French King Louis XIV, Russian Tsar Nicolas II, the Prussian Prince Bismarck, Sir Winston Churchill and American presidents Franklin D Roosevelt and John Kennedy.


Prices go through the roof as Parisian restaurant clears cellar space

They were some of the world's finest wines from the renowned cellar one of the world's finest restaurants. But as the gavel fell on the first of 18,000 bottles being auctioned by the celebrated Tour d'Argent restaurant, there was not a drop of the stuff to be seen anywhere. "You don't bring a 100-year-old bottle of wine out and start waving it around an auction room," said one wine collector among the bidders.

In fact, the stars of this sale were some way from the gilt and marble halls of the Paris auctioneers in a dark, cool cellar across the other side of the city. After all, these were no ordinary bottles of wine. The 427-year-old Tour d'Argent – the French capital's oldest restaurant – is famous for the quality of its cellars, the maze of dark alleys below the restaurant that house about 450,000 bottles of wines, champagnes and spirits. This was stock it had decided to sell off to make room for other vintages.

Its British chief sommelier, David Ridgway, said: "The easiest comparison is that of a vine for the wine to grow strongly, you have to cut it back."

But while ordinary wine lovers had been encouraged to come to bid for a bottle or two they might enjoy over Christmas, the extraordinary prices put most of the lots beyond the reach of all but the connoisseurs and collectors.

It was not only the Chateau Lafite Rothschild, the Chateau Margaux, the 1858 Grande Fine Champagne Monnet or the 1788 Vieux Cognac listed at €3,000 (£2,700) that set the electronic bidding board spinning. More recent and less coveted bottles provoked a flutter of cards making bids jump €50, sometimes €100-200 a time.

For Helena Puolakka and her husband Tuukka, who had visited from London for the day in the hope of picking up a bottle or two, it was a great disappointment.

"We have been going to the Tour d'Argent to eat for many years and we know they have wines there that you cannot find anywhere else in the world," said Helena, a chef from Finland. "But, at these prices, it's cheaper to buy the wine in the restaurant." Her husband said: "To be honest, the prices have gone through the roof. They are ridiculous."

Marc Verchere, a private wine collector from Paris, was also disappointed. "I just hope the people paying these prices are going to drink the wine and not put in on the mantelpiece so they can tell everyone it came from the Tour d'Argent," he said.

Wine experts said prices were high because almost all of the wine had never been previously moved from the Tour d'Argent's cellars, where it has been preserved in perfect conditions.

It is not only the wine list that makes the restaurant famous: it has served its signature dish of pressed duck served in its own blood to a colourful succession of celebrities including French King Louis XIV, Russian Tsar Nicolas II, the Prussian Prince Bismarck, Sir Winston Churchill and American presidents Franklin D Roosevelt and John Kennedy.


Prices go through the roof as Parisian restaurant clears cellar space

They were some of the world's finest wines from the renowned cellar one of the world's finest restaurants. But as the gavel fell on the first of 18,000 bottles being auctioned by the celebrated Tour d'Argent restaurant, there was not a drop of the stuff to be seen anywhere. "You don't bring a 100-year-old bottle of wine out and start waving it around an auction room," said one wine collector among the bidders.

In fact, the stars of this sale were some way from the gilt and marble halls of the Paris auctioneers in a dark, cool cellar across the other side of the city. After all, these were no ordinary bottles of wine. The 427-year-old Tour d'Argent – the French capital's oldest restaurant – is famous for the quality of its cellars, the maze of dark alleys below the restaurant that house about 450,000 bottles of wines, champagnes and spirits. This was stock it had decided to sell off to make room for other vintages.

Its British chief sommelier, David Ridgway, said: "The easiest comparison is that of a vine for the wine to grow strongly, you have to cut it back."

But while ordinary wine lovers had been encouraged to come to bid for a bottle or two they might enjoy over Christmas, the extraordinary prices put most of the lots beyond the reach of all but the connoisseurs and collectors.

It was not only the Chateau Lafite Rothschild, the Chateau Margaux, the 1858 Grande Fine Champagne Monnet or the 1788 Vieux Cognac listed at €3,000 (£2,700) that set the electronic bidding board spinning. More recent and less coveted bottles provoked a flutter of cards making bids jump €50, sometimes €100-200 a time.

For Helena Puolakka and her husband Tuukka, who had visited from London for the day in the hope of picking up a bottle or two, it was a great disappointment.

"We have been going to the Tour d'Argent to eat for many years and we know they have wines there that you cannot find anywhere else in the world," said Helena, a chef from Finland. "But, at these prices, it's cheaper to buy the wine in the restaurant." Her husband said: "To be honest, the prices have gone through the roof. They are ridiculous."

Marc Verchere, a private wine collector from Paris, was also disappointed. "I just hope the people paying these prices are going to drink the wine and not put in on the mantelpiece so they can tell everyone it came from the Tour d'Argent," he said.

Wine experts said prices were high because almost all of the wine had never been previously moved from the Tour d'Argent's cellars, where it has been preserved in perfect conditions.

It is not only the wine list that makes the restaurant famous: it has served its signature dish of pressed duck served in its own blood to a colourful succession of celebrities including French King Louis XIV, Russian Tsar Nicolas II, the Prussian Prince Bismarck, Sir Winston Churchill and American presidents Franklin D Roosevelt and John Kennedy.



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