Base neck fill
This is a Nicolas “Reserve” bottle.
Kept perfectly for many years, recorked and then late released.
Bottles with this stamp are lauded by wine collectors, and for good reason.
The importance of establishing Nicolas provenance is to receive a virtual guarantee that the wine was stored in impeccable conditions until it was released for sale.
Nicolas Reserve bottles may be seen in several guises. If labelled prior to the early 1980’s they will have chateau-supplied labels stamped with the red Nicolas stamp known as a “rosette”. The rosette was not stamped onto labels applied after the early 1980’s; instead a small Nicolas label was affixed just below the capsule.
The famous French wine retail firm Nicolas was founded in 1822. After World War One, Etienne Nicolas guided the firm through a major expansion, and purchased the quarries in Charenton outside of Paris to house substantial reserve stocks of Bordeaux and other French wines acquired by the firm. The Charenton quarries maintained a naturally constant temperature of 13 degrees centigrade (about 55 degrees F) and humidity of 80 percent.
In good vintages Nicolas purchased 5,000-10,000 bottles from selected grand cru Bordeaux chateau (less for a chateau such as Petrus which would supply about 1,200 bottles), which would be delivered to Nicolas without labels or capsules and stacked in enourmous bins. The capacity of the Caves was 12,000,000 bottles; in the mid-1980’s they contained over 7,000,000 bottles, of which almost 2,000,000 were of “Grand Vin” quality.
Every three to four years each wine in the Reserve program would be tasted, and a decision would be made on the number of bottles to be released for sale over the subsequent several years. Nicolas staff applied chateau-supplied labels and capsules (which were sent along with the wine) just before bottles were released for sale.
Nicolas had a policy of recorking all Reserve wines every 25 years, using an elaborate procedure involving nitrogen gas which prevented any wine from being exposed to oxygen in the process. A team of six people were employed to refill and recork the wines, and could proceed at a rate of about 300 bottles a day.