5 iDealwine Auctions in January: A Market Update

Angélique de Lencquesaing tells us what we need to know from the first auctions of 2024.

iDealwine is always off to a flying start when it comes to fine wine auctions! And with good reason: just as the western world is recovering from an indulgent festive season – from which the abstinence of Dry January was born – many east Asian cultures are getting ready for Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year. Lunar New Year is also a time for family reunions and other celebrations, with special bottles saved and uncorked. In fact, over 60% of the lots that went under the hammer in five January auctions on iDealwine were sold to overseas bidders.

However, while bidders are certainly bidding, prices are taking a breather. The drop in prices in 2023 helped to revitalise the market, but at the cost of stabilising prices. In Bordeaux, prices were mostly traded at prices consistent with estimates. In more mature vintages, interest from bidders nevertheless drove up prices for Château Montrose (the 1989 sold for €406, up 16%) and Château d’Yquem (a case of 2008 sold for €3,556, or €296 a bottle, up 8%). The 1982 vintage of Cheval Blanc also appreciated slightly in value, selling for almost €1,000 (€968, +4%).

In Burgundy, after the major price correction that took place in 2023, prices are broadly stable. With a few exceptions, however. These include a 2011 Romanée-Saint-Vivant from Domaine Leroy, which fetched €8,013 (+17%), an Auxey-Duresses Les Clous 2006 from Domaine d’Auvenay (€3,005, +9%), and a 2008 Chambertin from Rousseau (€2,254, +4%). At Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, while the eponymous Grand Cru remained stable, a 2015 Richebourg rose by 9%, selling for €4,382. The same applies to La Tâche, where a 2017 fetched €4,382 (+6%) in January.

In the Rhône Valley, the situation is calmer. Prices, which have also seen a marked readjustment throughout 2023 following the record levels seen in 2022, remain stable at the start of this year. In the case of wines from the Jean-Louis Chave estate, the famous Cathelin cuvée, which is so rare, has nevertheless seen its price soften, going for €6,260 in the 2009 vintage (-10%). As for the estate’s ‘classic’ Hermitages, only the mature or even old vintages are rising in price (1978, €1,402, +47%), with the more recent vintages remaining stable, such as a 2005 sold for €488. The same is true of Côte-Rôtie. Guigal’s LA-LA-LA vintages have seen their prices rise in great years such as 1990 (La Mouline, sold for €876, +31%, La Landonne, sold for €751, +5%), while more recent years such as 2012 have held their value. Prices for Thierry Allemand’s Cornas also remained stable (1999, €451), as did Trollat’s Saint Josephs.

To the south, Emmanuel Reynaud’s wines, after undergoing a correction that wiped out the growth recorded in 2022, are seeing their prices start to rise again. We’re seeing a slight upturn in prices for Rayas, but it’s above all the ‘satellite’ estates that are seeing strong bidding. Bottles from Domaine de Fonsalette, for example, are attracting interest (+11% for a 2010 Côtes-du-Rhône sold for €263). As for natural wines, Hirotaké Ooka’s wines from the Domaine de la Grande Colline are selling well, but without any notable overbidding.

In Champagne, the vintners’ cuvées continue to attract a great deal of attention. The names of Henri Giraud, Jérôme Prévost, Pierre Peters, Suenen and Dhondt Grellet stand out, alongside bottles of excellence from the great houses such as Krug, Pol Roger and Roederer, not forgetting Egly-Ouriet, whose prices are nonetheless softening.

Elsewhere, the vineyards of the Jura and Savoie regions continue to attract keen buyers, as witnessed by the high bids for vins jaunes from Jean Macle (€250 for a 1999) and Labet (€234 for a 2015), as well as mondeuses from Michel Grisard’s Prieuré Saint-Christophe (€275 for a bottle of 2003). In Beaujolais, Yvon Metras, Philippe Jambon and Foillard stand out (€200 for the latter’s 2016 Cuvée 3.14). In the south, Domaine de Trévallon is as sought-after as ever (€250 for a 2018 magnum). In Languedoc, whites are in demand, whether from the Peyre Rose estates (€263 for a magnum of the cuvée Ora 2001) or Les Aurelles (Aurel 2014, sold for €114).

Abroad, the variety of wines and cuvées is extraordinary, a real invitation to travel, taking wine lovers to Spain (Vega Sicilia Unico, sold for €376 in the 2006 vintage), Italy, from Barolo (Brunate 2011 by Rinaldi, sold for €300) to Tuscany (Sassicaia 1996, €263), Germany (€238 for a bottle of Egon Muller’s Scharzhofberger Spatlese 2009 Riesling) and as far afield as the United States, in Sonoma Valley (La Joie 2007, €376). The vineyards of the Sonoma Valley are a treasure trove of wines, and wine lovers have spared no effort in the early part of the year to win them on iDealwine.

Read the latest iDealwine auction report here.

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