Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wine Auction Spans Four Centuries

Today a wine and spirits auction transverses across four centuries when bottles of Madeira from 1792 along with Port from the Napoleonic wars, Port from the First and Second Wars, and wines from the 21st century come up for auction in Switzerland.

The global auction house, Christie’s is offering a private collection of rare Port and Madeira dating back to the 19th century for sale. The auction began yesterday and will conclude later today.

Mission Haut-Brion 1929
The wines auctioned yesterday were from a private Swiss cellar that had not been disturbed for years. Over 7,000 bottles were on the block, from double Magnums (3.0 L) to Imperial (6.0 L) sizes dating from 1953 to 1989. Included in this auction was a Magnum (1.5 L) of Mission Haut-Brion 1929, along with other Magnums from 1945, 1947, and 1949 vintages.
Chateau Lafite-Rothschild

Another six Magnums of Haut-Brion 1955 along with a double
Magnum of the 1959 vintage were also up for auction. Other wines include six Magnums of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1947 Bordeaux in the original wooden cases, expected to bring $22,000 - $33,000.

Waterloo Vintages
Other auction highlights include one of the finest private collections of Port and Madeira to ever come to auction. This includes over 100 bottles of Port from the 19th century with several Waterloo vintages from 1808 and 1815. Auction estimates are around $5,000 for each Waterloo vintage bottle.

The Ports being offered for auction span every decade of the 19th century. Bidding may be fierce for these bottles as rare, mature Ports are currently commanding premium prices.

1847 Chateau d'Yquem
Madeira vintages include 1792, 1805 and 1820. These are some of the rarest Madeira on the market. And a rare pre-phylloxera* 1847 vintage bottle of Chateau d’Yquem is expected to bring $44,000 - $66,000.

*Phylloxera is an insect that feeds on the roots and leaves of grapevines. This results in deformed roots and fungal infections that cause the vines to die. The phylloxera outbreak began in Europe in the 1850’s and devastated vineyards across the country. It is estimated that well over two-thirds (some say nine-tenths) of all European vineyards were destroyed by phylloxera during that time.

Royal Salute Tribute of Honor
And if these offerings are not enough to whet collectors’ taste buds, a very limited number of rare decanters of whiskey are also up for auction. Only 21 decanters of Royal Salute, Tribute of Honor exist. Royal Salute whiskey was hand-bottled in flagons of fine French porcelain encrusted with over 413 black and white diamonds on the stopper, collar and sterling silver pedestal the bottle is on. The pedestal also bears a replica of the Sword of State flanked by two lions that are engraved in gold. Less than 15 liters (about 4 US gallons) of this 45-year-old whiskey were ever released and auction experts estimate the value to be  between $220,000 – $330,400 US Dollars.

1979 Petrus
Wine lots from private vendors will close the two-day auction and include a full case of Haut-Brion 1989, magnums and double magnums of Petrus 1979 and a double magnum of Latour 1983.

The auction continues today at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues in Geneva and is expected to bring in close to $3 million.

~ Joy