José Polo, co-owner and sommelier of the Michelin starred Atrio restaurant-hotel in Cáceres, Western Spain, has issued a plea to the thieves behind last week’s fine wine heist.
‘I would buy the wine back from the robbers, especially the 1806 Château D’Yquem,’ Polo told Decanter.
Polo today revealed that 10 old vintages of Château d’Yquem and more than 20 Romanée-Conti, Burgundy wines, reported to be worth more than a million euros, were among the fine wines robbed from the Atrio’s prized wine cellar in the early hours of Wednesday, October 27th.
Polo said thieves had stolen 10 Château D’Yquem bottles from the 1806,1883,1884,1891,1899, 1900 and 1901 vintages.
As well as a bottle of La Tâche 1990, the thieves stole 24 bottles of Romanée Conti Burgundy wines from the following vintages: 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1997, 1989, 1999 2001, 2002, 2003, 2009 and 2012, including several magnums.
Polo said thieves would have difficulty selling the wines on as they were all numbered.
‘Due to the rarity of these wines, some of which are very old vintages, it would be extremely difficult for these wines to be sold on,’ said a senior wine fine industry source at Christie’s auction house.
Polo said the Atrio restaurant had recently sold a Romanée-Conti wine for €35,000 (£29,642), but he laid emphasis on the importance of the 1806 Château D’Yquem, worth €350,000 (£295,000), which he said had been a key part of the history of his team and Atrio.
Having acquired the bottle at Christie’s auction, winemakers at Château D’Yquem salvaged this wine in 2001, following a breakage near the neck of the bottle, by transferring the wine to another bottle.
Polo said that a woman, aged in her forties, using a Swiss passport and wearing a wig, was accompanied by a man, who carried out the robbery of fine wine in the early hours of last Wednesday
‘It was the man who carried out the robbery. This was a very clean professional job, I think the couple had been hired to do the robbery,’ he said.
He explained that Spanish forensic police from Madrid together with local police were investigating the crime in which 45 fine wines were stolen.
During the night the couple rang reception asking for food. The robbery is reported to have occurred while the receptionist made a salad and dessert for the couple at around 1.30am.
‘Security cameras show how the man stole the wine and put it into a bag before the couple left the hotel in the morning,’ Polo said.
‘They were able to break open the magnetic locks on the doors of the cellar,’ he added.
The couple, who he said spoke English with a ‘notable accent’, ate at the restaurant; ‘they were very polite and well dressed.’
The nature of the fine wine robbery has raised eyebrows in many quarters of the wine trade.
‘45 bottles is a lot of wine. This amount of wine would be very heavy to carry and move, even when put into bags, and to think they just walked out of the hotel with this number of bottles is odd,’ said one industry source, who wished not to be named.
Meanwhile, Polo said that the stolen wines had been insured prior to the robbery. ‘More than the bottles of wine, they robbed our dreams,’ he said.