I have had a quick look at some of the UK wine retailers’ websites and the comparisons go something like this (if you can actually buy single bottles):
- Château Haut Brion 2008 would be about £420, as opposed to the €399.95/£350
- Château Mouton-Rothschild 2006 about £695, as opposed to the €595/£520
- Château d’Yquem* 1998 about £310, as opposed to the €149/£130
I ought to add that I can’t afford any of them, but other lesser and more affordable wines are even better value than they would be in the UK because of the countries’ different duty/alcohol tax systems. Apart from the d’Yquem, the wines described above will not be ready for drinking for some time and would improve if kept for up to 10 years, possibly longer. This raises the problem of storage. How well have the wines been kept so far – who knows, but Auchan was probably about 20degC, so about 10degC higher than desirable, and, of course, well-lit. Once taken home, older French houses often have caves (cellars) and the big electrical retailers like Darty sell a wide range of wine storage systems.
Far from the tormented portraits and nudes for which he is renowned, for Mouton 2006 Lucian Freud has chosen a joyously exotic transposition of the pleasure of drinking, in which the vinestock is transformed into a springing palm tree and the winelover into a happily anticipatory zebra.
*Château d’Yquem is actually, and uniquely, a Premier Cru Supérieur.