Sotheby’s London Wine Season

On Wednesday, 26 January, 2011, Sotheby’s London will offer a Magnificent Private Collection of Château Lafite, Château Mouton Rothschild 1959, Château Latour 1959 and Château Haut Brion 1961. The 51 lots will open the sale of Finest and Rarest Wines & Vintage Port, and all come with impeccable provenance. Described by Serena Sutcliffe MW, Worldwide Head of Wine at Sotheby’s, as “A stunning array of the most iconic wines ever made that sets the bar for this first sale of the year in London”, this collection is expected to bring in the region of £500,000. The 538?lot sale has an overall estimate of £1.19 – 1.49 million.

In the wake of Sotheby’s record price for a single standard sized bottle at auction, achieved when a bottle of Château Lafite 1869 sold for $232,692 in Hong Kong in October 2010, the demand for Château Lafite – particularly among Asian buyers – continues apace, and this collection will offer the opportunity to acquire exceptional vintages. Lots 1 and 2 comprise two complete cases of Château Lafite 1945, Pauillac, 1er Cru Classé, estimated at £12,000?16,000 per 12 bottles (“An intoxicating, exciting bouquet of heather and honey… with that ethereal Lafite quality.” SS). Further stand?out vintages in complete cases include:

• Lots 8 and 9, Château Lafite 1961, Pauillac, 1er Cru Classé, estimate £6,000-7,000 per 12 bottles (“So sweet, rich and gentle on the palate. A terrific mocha finish. This is the sheer elegance of Lafite…” SS)
• Lots 15 and 16, Château Lafite 1982, Pauillac, 1er Cru Classé, estimate £22,000?28,000 per 12 bottles (…”so youthful, even haunting in its flavours…” SS)
• Lots 22 and 23, Château Lafite 1986, Pauillac, 1er Cru Classé, estimate £12,000?16,000 per 12 bottles (“Take every opportunity to acquire and, preferably, to drink this.” SS)
• Lots 46 and 47, Château Lafite 2000, Pauillac, 1er Cru Classé, estimate £17,000?22,000 per 12 bottles (“This will last a century if required, so think two generations on.” SS)

Château Mouton Rothschild, the most opulent and exuberant of all the First Growths, is represented by 11 bottles of Château Mouton Rothschild 1959, Pauillac, 1er Cru Classé, estimated at £11,000?14,000 and being offered in a single lot (7). Nine bottles of Château Haut Brion 1961, Pessac?Léognan (Graves), Pauillac, 1er Cru Classé, make up lot 10 (pictured left), with an estimate of £12,500?17,000. (“Just fireworks on the palate.” SS)

Elsewhere in the sale, there is a wonderful range of 2000 Bordeaux (lots 63?88). Jeroboams of Château Mouton Rothschild 2000, Pauillac, 1er Cru Classé, are estimated at £3,400?4,200 per lot (72?75), and magnums of Château Cheval Blanc 2000, St. Emilion, 1er Grand Cru Classé (A), are estimated at £3,400?4,200 per lot (3 mags). Lots 92 to 149 comprise an array of 2001, 2002 and 2003 Bordeaux vintages.

For Champagne lovers, Krug, Clos du Mesnil should prove hard to resist, with the 1988 vintage estimated at £700?800 per bottle (lots 152?155), and the 1989 vintage estimated at £600?700 per bottle (lots 156?161, pictured left, “Long and luscious with a lovely fresh flourish at the end. Will age superbly.” SS).

Other star lots are Château Petrus 1982, Pomerol, estimated at £24,000?30,000 per 12 bottles (lot 189) and a case of Romanée Conti 1988, Domaine de la Romanée Conti, Côte de Nuits, Grand Cru, estimated at £46,000?55,000 per 12 bottles (lot 190).

A further collection of top Bordeaux, all bought en?primeur and stored professionally since purchase, comprises lots 191 to 379, and spans the best years from the 1990s and 2000s.

Fans of Italian wine will appreciate the iconic Sassicaia on offer in a range of vintages: Sassicaia 1998, Tenuta San Guido, Bolgheri, estimated at £1,300?1,700 per 12 bottles (lot 442) and Sassacaia 2001, Tenuta San Guido, Bolgheri, estimated at £800?1,100 per six bottles (lots 447?450).

Image: Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1945 (lots 1 and 2). Photo: Sotheby’s.

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