Part of elBulli’s Wine Cellar Fetches $1.8 Million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong Auction

Plus more news and notes from the world of wine, spirits and beer.


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Part of the wine cellar of chef Ferran Adrià’s shuttered restaurant elBulli was 100% sold at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong on April 3. Fetching roughly $1.8 million, the 445 lots included three bottles of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s 1990 Romanée-Conti ($72,244), two cases of 1982 Château Lafite ($134,354) and a dinner for four with Ferran Adrià in Barcelona ($28,269). The second part of the auction will occur in New York City on April 26. All of the money raised will benefit the elBulliFoundation, an organization dedicated to culinary innovation.

Secaucus, New Jersey-based Vision Wine & Spirits, LLC, is launching Wines For Dummies, a line of wines named after the reference book series, For Dummies. Aiming to demystify wine for the novice consumer, the brand includes selections that reflect their appellations. Each bottle will feature a label that includes phonetic spellings of the grape used, comprehendible wine descriptions and simple food pairings. The first four wines to be available are Pinot Grigio and Chianti from Italy, and Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon from California. Although the release date has not been announced, the selections will retail for approximately $10/750 ml.

Wine-and-spirits giant Brown-Forman will sell personalized barrels of Old Forester Bourbon for $7,500 per barrel. For the selection process, master distiller Chris Morris will pick three barrels from more than 200 of Old Forester’s 4- to 6-year-old stock. Customers will be able to taste from the three barrels before choosing and purchasing. Each barrel holds roughly 220 bottles, which amounts to a bottle cost of about $34. Brown-Forman offers a comparable barrel program for Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey.

Sauternes producer Château Raymond-Lafon has stated that it will not make a 2012 vintage due to a dry September that prevented the proper development of botrytis—the noble rot that naturally concentrates grape sugars and gives Sauternes its characteristic spicy aromatic profile. The last Raymond-Lafon vintage that wasn’t made was 1974. Chateaux d’Yquem and Rieussec previously announced that they also would not produce a 2012.

The founder of the Santa Maria Valley, California-based Au Bon Climat winery, Jim Clendenen, will receive an award for promoting his region at the 2013 Chardonnay Symposium, which will be held in Santa Maria Valley from July 19–21. 

Oregon is well on its way to being the first state to name an official state microbe. State legislator Mark Johnson of the Hood River-area introduced legislation in the Oregon House to grant official status to the powerhouse yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, or “brewer’s yeast.” According to Johnson, the tongue-twisting microbe (predominantly used to brew ales) has contributed $2.4 billion to the state economy via the craft beer industry. The House Rules Committee passed the bill unanimously, which is heading to the House floor for a full vote this week. Oregon ranks third in the nation in number of craft breweries, according to the Oregon Brewer’s Guild.

"The Gentleman of Brunello" Franco Biondi Santi passed away at the age of 91. Read about it here. 

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