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'Napoleon' Cognac from a Legendary Vintage

26th July 2022.

Château Paulet Grandé Fine Champagne "Napoleon" Cognac, 1811 Vintage (one bottle)

Estimate: £20,000-25,000 plus buyer’s premium

Fine Wine & Whisky Sale – 2nd September 2022

1811 was a legendary year for winemaking in Western Europe. After a succession of poor vintages in the opening years of the century, perfect growing conditions provided by a long hot summer and warm dry autumn produced a spectacular harvest and reputedly the best vintage of the 19th century.

The almost mythical status of the 1811 vintage was cemented by the appearance of ‘The Great Comet’ or Flaugergues’ Comet. Discovered by Honoré Flaugergues in March of that year, it was visible to astronomers in our skies for 17 months, however, it came closer to Earth and was clearly visible to the naked eye during the harvest in September and October. Comets have long been associated with excellent vintages; for centuries winemakers ascribed perfect conditions to their appearance in the skies. ‘Comet Vintages’ of wine and the cognac’s made from them have long been held in high esteem, none more so than that of 1811.

Furthermore, in 1811 Napoleon visited the town of Cognac, where he was presented with a barrel of the spirit for his newborn son, who would go on to become Napoleon II. Many cognac’s made from the 1811 vintage were labelled as ‘Napoleon Cognac’ when they were bottled, often decades later, signifying their legendary status.

The September Fine Wine and Whisky Sale is set to include a host of rare bottles of wine and whisky. Highlights include three magnums of Richebourg Grand Cru 1969 Domaine De La Romanee-Conti and a bottle of Petrus 1947.


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