Sotheby’s triumphant London sale signals ongoing fine wine ascendancy

The ‘dream-like collection’ of a single connoisseur has defied sale forecasts by Sotheby’s, comfortably exceeding them at auctions in New York and London this week. “A triumph,” was the verdict of Stephen Mould, head of wine for Sotheby’s Europe, on the New Bond Street outfit’s big event in the capital. More of the wines will be sold shortly in Hong Kong.

The London sale trumped that of New York, raising £1,663,588 to take the total for the two to £3.1m. This is good news for investors, even if buyers are having to delve deeper into their pockets. Trends are all-important, and after a tremendous climax to the auction season at the end of last year, the positive start to 2017 sales is an encouraging pointer.

A magnum from 1947 of Cheval Blanc, a favourite Right Bank icon of Vin-X, was expected to sell for between £50-65,000 but went for £84,000. That was paid by one of a number of Asian buyers to have bid high to acquire rare claret. A Jeroboam of Latour 1961, for example, fetched £30,550, while five magnums of Haut-Brion from the same great vintage made £22,325. Four bottles of Lafleur 1961 were bought for £30,550 by a European buyer.

Other French notables included a case of Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux 1995, which sold for £58,750 (nearly £5,000 a bottle). Other best-sellers were Jayer’s 1990 Echézeaux and some Domaine de la Romanée-Conti from 1996, 1999, 2001 and 2006.

An exultant Mould revealed the London auction had comfortably exceeded the high estimate. “Intense bidding saw prices soar for rare Bordeaux and treasures from Burgundy, with bottles through to large formats all hitting the heights,” he said. “The Cheval Blanc 1947 stood out in a galaxy of Bordeaux stars. Further gems included Hermitage La Chapelle 1959 from Northern Rhône, and the luscious Loire wine Vouvray Le Haut Lieu 1947 from Huet. Across continents, buyers clamoured to secure wine from this incredible collection. The sale follows the excellent results in New York, and we now look forward to the final part of this trilogy in Hong Kong.”