It came as no surprise that First-Growth Bordeaux from the cellars of media businessman and wine enthusiast Lord Evgeny Lebedev led the way as our top three lots in our May wine auction; a complete case of Margaux 1989, a classic mature 1980s vintage of the most perfumed and seductive of clarets, with two half-dozen lots of savoury Graves deliciousness in the form of Haut Brion 1996 not far behind.
Classic French wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne and the Rhône accounted for all 20 of our top hammer prices, with SuperTuscan Sassicaia accounting for all of our top five lots from Italy, with a plethora of bottles from Barolo, Brunello di Montalcino and a pair of lots of the fascinating Campanian classic Mastroberardino Taurasi from the 1960s providing interest for lovers of mature European wines.
Here are a few of our personal highlights of May’s auction:
Château Rayas is ‘desert island wine’ for many wine lovers, and the most celebrated Grenache of them all. It was no surprise at all to see fierce bids for one of the Rhône’s true greats.
We had three fabulous pieces of wine memorabilia in the May auction, in the form of Mouton Rothschild label prints commissioned by the Château to adorn their 1984, 1987 and 1990 vintages. Famously designed by a different artist for every year, all saw plenty of interest, but fittingly enough it was the finest vintage of the trio, the 1990, which brought home the (Francis) Bacon by way of hammer price.
A little piece of Italian wine history, Mastroberardino Taurasi Riserva Montemarano was one of three distinct single vineyard wines produced by the Campanian winery from the wonderful 1968 vintage, such was the quality of the fruit. Considered to be as classic representation of the Aglianico grape variety, this is proof that a little research can reward the canny bidder with a steal.
Dom Pérignon is the Champagne darling in virtually every one of our wine auctions: we had 15 lots from 12 vintages this month, with the harmonious and ‘classic’ 1985 just ahead of the richer, heatwave vintage 1976 toward the top of the bidding, just behind nightclub favourite Armand de Brignac in a fetching black lacquered box with two glass flutes.