Who wouldn’t want to try the most expensive wine in the world, if given the chance?
I was one of the very lucky people invited to taste Liber Pater from Loic Pasquet.
It all started in the Landiras commune of Graves region (Bordeaux, 90 metres above sea level) in 2004, when Loic decided to produce wine as it would have been in Napoleonic times. He decided to select local and ancestral grapes of Bordeaux: Tarnay, Castets and St-Macaire, alongside the better known Cabernet, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Vidure (an original old massale selection of Cabernet Sauvignon).
The first vintage was in 2006 and commercially the 2007. Of course, an exceptional wine like this isn’t produced every year (only 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015 and maybe 2018). Liber Pater wine is also produced in dry and sweet wine styles in very small amounts – and not every year. The production area is only 2.3 hectares.
Pasquet gave us a blind tasting exercise. It was a Cabernet Sauvignon from 2 different soils. One from gravel soil was delicate with a great finesse, the other was from clay soil and showed more density.
This 2007 vintage is a blend of cabernet sauvignon (60%) and Merlot (40%), fermented in French oak barrels. There is a garnet colour reminiscent of red brick. Medium intensity. The aromas are open with cooked dark fruit, light toasted bread, earthy, dry leaves and a hint of meatiness. The palate is dense with some firm tannins.
The 2015 vintage is a blend of 9 un-crafted grapes. 20% of grapes are aged in French new oak barrels and 80% in clay Amphora of 4,000 litres (from Italy). Grapes are placed in the amphora for the fermentation process. Then the production is pressed. Thus, 3 amphoras of wine fermented will end up as 2 amphoras of finished wine. No sulphite is added. Loic produced this in 2015 in only 550 bottles. Loïc advises to decant his wine at least twice and to leave it for around 2 hours.
The wine is complex with great flavours of ripe red fruit and berries with a hint of bell pepper. The oak is well integrated. The tannins are dry with a velvet texture. Still young, of course, but with an extremely high potential of ageing. Loic advised 15 years plus. The future will let us know.
Price? Yes, this wine will cost you £30,000 per bottle… view it as a pre-phylloxera wine made at the beginning of viticulture. Price in wine is subjective, as is art.
This wine is produced in Bordeaux but Loic doesn’t have the right to put Bordeaux on the label. As he has made a blend from grapes which aren’t in the French authority document from the INAO (Institute National des Appellations Controlees), the wine will have the appellation Vin de France.
Every year the label changes:
2007 “The Leaf”, representing the renaissance of the healthy vineyard. There is also a heart as Loic met his future wife at that time.
2015 “Sauvetage” is inspired by the raft from a Medusa painting (Géricault). The baby represents Liber Pater wine. The other people on the raft represent the French authorities from the Bordeaux wine official classification of 1855.
Written by Lionel Periner, with enormous thanks to Olivier Gasselin from Oenotrade.