Wine Heist Of The Century: $400,000 Bottle of Vintage Bordeaux Among Stolen Bottles
In a wine heist that would make even the most seasoned fine-wine connoisseur shake their head in disbelief, wine thieves broke into Atrio – a two-Michelin-starred restaurant and hotel in Caceres, Spain — criminals managed to steal dozens of bottles of astronomically expensive wines, including one famous bottle of 1806 Château d’Yquem: a bottle of wine priced at about $406,000.
José Polo, co-owner of Atrio, said that the robbers were professionals and knew exactly what they were doing.
The bottle of 1806 Château d’Yquem is so renowned that Polo claimed it would be impossible to sell without warning the authorities, lending credence to the theory that a wealthy private collector paid for the heist.
In an open letter, Polo and his co-owner, Toño Pérez, wrote: “We feel an immense sadness today. These 45 bottles were very special and have been bought over the past decades with great effort. What pains us most is the loss of Château d’Yquem.”
According to The Times, a hotel employee said the suspected robbers presented themselves as a couple in their forties on vacation. The woman arrived first at the hotel, checking in with a Swiss passport, only carrying a backpack and allegedly wearing a wig as a disguise. Later, she was joined by a man who spoke excellent English.
After dinner Wednesday night, the couple requested a visit to the restaurant’s wine cellar, containing 40,000 bottles of mostly French vintage wines from the most prestigious vineyards. After retiring to their room, they requested additional food at 1:30 a.m. The hotel’s only overnight employee agreed to make a salad for them. It is believed this was a diversion that may have given the thieves enough time to return to the wine cellar and steal 45 of its most prized bottles, including Yquem, one of France’s oldest wines. They were also “cool” enough to ask for a dessert to be added to their room service order, said the Times, presumably an attempt to buy more time while transferring bottles from the cellar to their room.
Polo stated that doors with electronic code locks protect the cellar and were not forced, leading some to believe that sophisticated equipment may have been used. The couple departed on foot with their loot at 5:30 a.m., including at least six other 19th-century bottles hidden inside suitcases.
It was not until 1.30 p.m. that the missing bottles were detected. Police are now attempting to identify the pair based on security camera footage.
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