Arden Fine Wines retains an extensive “library” of empty bottles of fine wines.
Most of them were consumed by Arden staff (purely for professional purposes, of course…) and they evoke happy memories of great wines enjoyed with friends. But the empty bottles also represent authentic examples of rare wines against which we can compare future purchases.
(And prevents less scrupulous people from refilling them and offering them for sale.)
Recently we acquired two empty Domaine de la Romanée-Conti jeroboams – La Tâche 1986 and Richebourg 1976 – from an auctioneer in Diss, Norfolk.
It was a very hot summer in 1976 and the sunbaked Pinot Noir grapes of the 18-acre Richebourg vineyard in Vosne-Romanée (of which DRC owns just under nine acres) were turned into deep-coloured, tannic wines.
It was also the year that the A6 “Autoroute du Soleil” from Paris to Beaune was opened, so all those nice Parisians could now visit the wineries of the Côte d’Or very easily.
The La Tâche 1986 is of a good mid-80s vintage and still has most of its wax capsule intact (apart from the bit that was removed when the bottle was opened, of course).
The “Percy Fox & Co Limited” slip label represents the then sole UK distributors of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. Percy Fox became part of Diageo and then Treasury Wine Estates, offering Blossom Hill rather than DRC.