Forbes magazine today paid a world record price of $157,500 for an 18th-Century bottle of red wine made for Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States. It was four times the previous record for a bottle of wine.
The 1787 Chateau Lafitte claret--inscribed with the wine’s vintage and the initials, “Th.J."--was bought by Forbes of New York at Christie’s auction house in London. Applause broke out in the packed salesroom when the gavel came down.
“It’s nice to know that some of Mr. Jefferson’s wine is finally coming home,” commented Christopher Forbes, 35, who said the wine would be added to the family’s collection of American presidential relics.
“It’s more fun than the opera glasses Lincoln was holding when he was shot--and we have those, too,” said Forbes, third son of the magazine’s founder, Malcolm Forbes.
Asked if anyone would drink the wine, Forbes said, “The current owners certainly won’t.”
Jefferson, who was ambassador to the French Revolutionary government and a specialist on the country’s vineyards, ordered the Bordeaux wine from the Chateau Lafitte cellars, but the wine was never delivered to him.
It was found this year among more than a dozen bottles of Bordeaux behind a cellar wall in an old house in Paris, said the seller of the wine, Hardy Rodenstock, a West German music publisher from Wiesbaden.