Stashed inside the 427 year old hallows of La Tour d’Argent’s 27-room cellar is an impressive collection of vintages dating back as far as the French Revolution. Recently, the restaurant auctioned off 18,000 bottles that had been stored in its cellars to the highest bidder.
The auction raised 1.54 million euros in a total of two days. Yet, all this purchasing was not just for gain, proceeds from two big selling Cognacs went to the Association Petits Princes. Among the generous purchases were a two bottles of 1788 Clos du Griffier which sold for 25, 000 euros and a 15,000 (this one sold for less because it had a moldy label). It goes to prove only in France will something with model go for such a high price. French entrepreneur, Raphael Zier was quoted by Bloomberg saying he didn’t mind paying 10 times the asking price, “It’s a very good bottle, but my principal motivation was to contribute to the association,” he said, “I did it for the kids.”
Value of these vintages comes from the fact that the bottles of aged Bordeaux and Burgundy were bought directly from the vineyards and sent straight to the seller. Impressive how 427 years of history pass and those bottles remained nestled in the cellar of the restaurant, not to be disturb until the auction. If bottles could talk, I can only imagine the secrets they’ve kept.
This overdue spring-cleaning came about in an effort to put La Tour d’Argent back on the map. During its Hey Day, only thirteen years ago, the restaurant boasted three Michelin stars; sadly two of its stars have been removed. Owner, Andre Terrail has been working hard to get back his star and hoped to gain it back by auctioning off some of the bottles and bringing much need publicity back to the business. Proceeds from the auction, of course except for the Cognac proceeds for charity, will go into much needed kitchen upgrades and new purchases of wines. Terrial hopes to bring La Tour d’Argent into the 21st Century and attract some much need business from the younger and more diversified crowd.