American Thomas Keller is one of the world’s greatest chefs and his 20-year-old Napa Valley restaurant, The French Laundry, is one of the World’s 50 best restaurants.
It has a wine cellar to match prestige, but on Christmas Day, thieves smashed the door to the wine cellar and made off with more than six dozen bottles of the most prestigious and expensive wines there, with an estimated value of $300,000.
The French Laundry is currently closed for renovations, and Keller posted a photo of the door jemmied open on Instagram yesterday after discovering the break in.
On Christmas day, The French Laundry was the victim of a robbery. Specific wines of specific value were stolen (DRC & Screaming Eagle). We have complete trust in the authorities leading the investigation, and we welcome any information our community may have regarding the event. We are confident that if and when any of the stolen bottles appear in public, they will immediately raise questions and red flags among the wine knowledgeable. The French Laundry wine program is, as many of you know, singular and distinct. We look forward to rebuilding our cellar in the meantime and plan to get to the bottom of this disheartening act immediately. #TheGrinchThatStoleXmas
The “specific wines of specific value” just so happen to be two of the most prestigious and expensive wines in the world.
Screaming Eagle, the cult Napa Valley Cabernet blend is produced in such small quantities there’s a waiting list of buyers and it sells for more than $US1000 a bottle, trading on the secondary market for around $US1500 to $2000.
Keller has two vintages on The French Laundry’s list – the Screaming Eagle 2002 for $US6500 and the 2010 for $US3500.
There are several vintages of the famous french Burgundy Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC) on the wine list, priced between $US1750 and $7950 ($AU9700), the vintages dating as far back as 1988.
In Australia, vintages of DRC dating back as far as 2004 sell for between $AU2000 and $6000.
Keller had 63 bottles of DRC taken several vintages that sell at auctions for several thousand dollars apiece and up to $15,000.
Champagne was also stolen. Keller is optimistic he’ll get the wines back and has asked anyone with information to contact him on [email protected]
The French Laundry closed just before Christmas for several weeks while the kitchen is being rebuilt.
— Thomas Keller (@Chef_Keller) December 29, 2014
If Keller needs inspiration for getting his grog back, he can look to Robert Oatley Wines communications manager Darren Jahn, who had around $4000 worth of wine stolen from his cellar in Sydney’s eastern suburbs the week before Christmas, including champagnes, French Bordeaux and premium Australian wines.
The alleged thief, dressed in hi-vis tradie clothes, was caught on security cameras around 2.30am. On Christmas eve, police executed a search warrant at a home in Matraville, arresting an 80-year-old man who has been charged with break enter and steal, receiving, and goods in custody. He will appear in Waverley Local Court on 4 February, 2015.
Police managed to retrieve 60 of the 90 bottles of wine stolen from Jahn, and also seized power tools and around 200 golf clubs, all allegedly stolen.
Anyone who believes they might own the tools or golf clubs should contact Maroubra Police Station on 9349 9299.