Two English-speaking thieves steal £262,000 bottle of Chateau d’Yquem 1806 from elite Spanish restaurant in £1.7million wine raid

  • The Chateau d’Yquem 1806 was bought at auction in London some 20 years ago 
  • The theft happened at the Atrio Restaurant Hotel in the city of Caceres in Spain 
  • An English speaking couple are believed to be responsible for the wine theft 
  • Police believe the rare wine bottles were stolen to order for a private collector 

Police are hunting thieves who stole more than 40 exclusive bottles of wine from a famous Spanish restaurant hotel including one worth an estimated £262,000.

The Chateau d’Yquem 1806, bought by the owners in an auction more than 20 years ago at Christie’s London, was the most valuable of the wines taken.

The thieves, thought to be an English-speaking man and woman who arrived late and are suspected of carrying out the crime while a meal was being delivered to their room, struck at the Atrio Restaurant Hotel in the city of Caceres in western Spain.

One is believed to have entered the wine cellar on the hotel’s ground floor before taking 45 bottles of wine including the gem in the hotel owners’ collection.

The theft occurred in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Jose Polo, one of the two owners of the hotel restaurant, told local press: ‘One of the people we believe did this reserved a room and dined with another who arrived later on and asked for something from the kitchen in the early hours of the morning.

‘When the kitchen staff took the plates to the room one of them took advantage to enter the wine cellars and take the bottles in a bag.’ 

In an open letter to the press Mr Polo and his co-owner Tono Perez added: ‘After suffering a terrible pandemic which has affected so many people socially and economically, we have suffered a theft in our wine cellar.

A pair of thieves have stolen 40 bottles of wine from a two star Michelin restaurant including a Chateau d’Yquem 1806 worth more than £260,000

The wine was stolen from the exclusive Atrio Restaurant Hotel in the city of Caceres in western Spain

‘More than a theft it’s as if they’ve forced entry, gagged us and beat us.

‘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 Chateau d’Yquem from 1806, which was about to die two decades ago and which we saved with one of the most beautiful stories of the wold of wine ever told.

‘That bottle was part of our personal history, almost part of me, of the history of the hotel, but also of Caceres, of its citizens and all the lovers of the world of wine.

‘It is THE bottle, impossible to substitute, 215 years of the history of Spain, wars, times of peace and construction.’ The pair finished their letter with the words: ‘Our hearts are broken but we are ready to carry on fighting.’ 

The owners were also quoted as saying they wouldn’t have sold the Chateau d’Yquem ‘for a million euros’ because of its sentimental value.

The full cost of the bottles taken has not been officially revealed but has been estimated at around £1.7 million

Nearly 40 of the other bottles of wine taken were reportedly expensive Romanee-Conti.

The exclusive wines cost on average £10,000 at the Atrio Restaurant Hotel but one of them, the Montrachet Grand Cru 1999 Magnum, costs a £21,600.

The full cost of the bottles taken has not been officially revealed but has been estimated at around £1.7 million.

Police have not yet made any official comment.

The Atrio Restaurant Hotel’s wine cellar is considered to be the best in Spain and one of the best in Europe.

It has been built up over the past 35 years since the landmark premises opened and has wines from 140 different countries.

No further details have been published about the man and woman suspected of carrying out the theft, other than that they were ‘professionals’ and checked out of the hotel around 5am on Wednesday before the crime was discovered.

Food and catering critic David Ramartinez said such exclusive bottles of wine are often traded as commodities. 

He said: ‘It is centiliters of a liquid that no one is sure can be consumed,” he said.

‘These bottles cannot be sold in a public market, but there is a hidden market for their exchange.’  

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