Auction Manager Jeremy Lee takes a look at some of the highlights from our March fine and rare wine auction.
New World Wonders
Our small but perfectly formed March Fine & Rare Wine auction featured some fascinating bottles from a range of categories, but our three-bottle presentation case of American icon Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 was always destined to be our star lot, selling for £6400. Perhaps the most celebrated of all Napa Valley Cabernets Sauvignons – and arguably the ‘wine of the vintage’ – it was nonetheless in excellent Stateside company with two single bottle lots of Opus One 1995 and an Opus One 1998 each fetching £525, a jump of £115 per bottle on hammer prices for another pair of Opus One 1995s from our February Fine & Rare wine auction. A pair of single-bottle lots of Wine Advocate 100-pointers, Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, were only a single bidding increment apart, with the pricier of the pair fetching £180. Still an infant in terms of its evolution, this could be one to watch, and prove a smart buy for drinkers and investors alike.
Bordeaux was well-represented in last night’s auction, though the star lot (technically from our Fortified & Dessert category, but who’s quibbling!) came in the somewhat surprising form of a wonderfully well-preserved half-bottle of Chateau d’Yquem 1946, which fetched a sweet £1200. Bidding had been sluggish to begin with, but although 1946 is by no means a classic vintage for the Château, such is its kudos and legend (roughly one glass produced per vine in any given vintage), and collectors jumped in to add a piece of 1940s liquid history to their collections as the bidding drew to a close.
Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1996 was one of our more gloriously predictable auction highlights, and fetched our highest red Bordeaux hammer price at £625, appropriate, perhaps for a Parker 100-pointer, and the finest Lafite of the decade. Other First-Growths followed hot on the heels, with another 100-pointer – a babe in arms – Château Haut Brion 2016 fetching £525, as did Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1996 and Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2003, with both fetching just over £100 per lot more than the same lots fetched last month.
Some other fun lots that caught our eye: the battle between a pair of Veneto’s most legendary prized Amarones was easily won by highly acclaimed Amarone Della Valpolicella Dal Forno 2008 Monte Lodoletta, which fetched £140, despite the plaudits and 96 point score for rival Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico Riserva 2010 Sergio Zenato, which looked like a snip by comparison at £50. Lastly, we loved Barbeito Madeira 1870 Rare Rich Malmsey, which fetched £250, for both its fetching, retro wicker presentation, and the promise of its century and a half old contents, the year in which Charles Dickens died.