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Remmy Martin Cognac
Remmy Martin Cognac  
QUESTION: I have an old bottle of Remy Martin Grande Fine Champagne Louis XIII brand, 16/25 quart, 80 proof. It has a state of Illinois tax stamp from 1936. Are the product and bottle worth anything of value? Browne Vintners was the importer.

ANSWER: Hi Marcia

Thanks for being patient---I was away for a few days.

This is pretty remarkable stuff.  Bear in mind that distilled spirits like this are so high in alcohol that they don't change much, for better or for worse, as they age in the bottle.  But I have mainly good news for you.  The Louis XIII Cognac is stunning, and it looks like you have most of the bottle still left. And while the price of an older bottle won't be any higher than that of a current bottling, this stuff sells for around $2500 a bottle.

That's impressive.  Even the empty bottles list for over $200 on ebay!

But now for the less good news.  It is illegal for private citizens to sell alcoholic beverages in the USA. So you would have to work through a retailer or an auction house to sell this.  And the fact that it is opened will be a huge issue for them---there is no guarantee that what it is the bottle is truly Louis XIII. And that means that it would be very hard for them to pay you much for this bottle.  

My advice?  Unless you really need the money, I would suggest that you share this with good friends and family---and take joy in the fact that you are drinking something that costs about $100 per glass.

Let me know if I am invited!

Paul Wagner

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for your response. The bottle has never been opened. The seal is still good. It has been stored on it's side so that the liquor stayed against the cork. Some may have evaporated?

Might a local liquor distributor that we know be interested in it? Also, my husband grew up with Bill Samuels, Jr. Wonder if he might be interested? Interesting alternatives!

Thanks again,

Marcia Ryan

Answer
Hi Marcia

Yes, it does make a difference that the seal is not broken.  The fill level (in wine geek terms, this is called the "ullage") is certainly due to evaporation past the cork.  I would NOT store this on its side at this point, because the cork is clearly compromised.  Stand it up so it doesn't lose any more liquid.

If you know a local distributor, that would absolutely be the best solution here.  They would know the market, and know who might be interested in a real rarity!

Hope that helps

Paul Wagner

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Paul Wagner

Expertise

I have spent most of my adult life eating and drinking throughout the world, and can usually remember some of it! With Rick Kushman of Capital Public Radio, I host a radio show and podcast called Bottletalk at rickandpaulwine.com, where I answer questions about food and drink on the air.

Experience

30 years in the business.

Education/Credentials
I have taught at Napa Valley College for the past 20 years.

Past/Present Clients
Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines Company, The Court of Master Sommeliers, Constellation Wines, The Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux, Vinitaly, Napa County Agricultural Commissioner.

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