A 66-year-old bottle of Australian wine has sold for more than $41,000 in Melbourne, it was confirmed on Friday. The bottle of 1951 Penfolds Grange Hermitage was auctioned off by MW Wines on Wednesday night with an unnamed collector taking the piece of history home for $41,110, reports Xinhua news agency.
The vintage, Penfold’s first, was produced by Max Schubert, the prestigious company’s chief winemaker at the time, and was never made publicly available.
It is believed that around 1,800 bottles of the wine were produced, 20 of which still exist today.
It is the first sale of the 1951 wine since another bottle was sold for $39,870 in 2004.
Nick Stamford, managing director of MW Wines, said it was a “staggering” price for “a piece of history”. He said that the wine had been tasted by Schubert in 1993 and Penfolds’ current chief winemaker in 2012 who confirmed it was still in excellent condition.
“The 1951 is now quite notorious for many of them being not in great shape for drinking. Some are fantastic, but very variable. There is the old saying — there is no great old wines, there is just great old bottles,” Stamford told the Australian media on Friday.
“Some bottles still have fruit sweetness and flavour length. Largely the wine has a dull tawny colour and skeletal palate structure with little flesh and fading tannins,” he said.
“I would imagine this one’s going to be part of history rather than being drunk. It’s an investment,” he added.
Penfolds is Australia’s best-known winemaker with vintages regularly being sold for thousands of dollars despite some experts disputing that is the country’s best wine.