Auction report: Dagueneau grabs headlines

Dagueneau-encheresThe auctions of 11th May included their share of treasures from all regions… not least in the Loire valley, where Dagueneau was particularly well represented. Let’s take a closer look at the world of rare wines.

Each of France’s main wine regions has its own little hidden gems – a fact well known to eager connoisseurs, prompting a number of lively battles at the online auctions of 11 May.

As wine lovers will tell you, the Loire valley is home to two superstars: Clos Rougeard in Saumur-Champigny, and Dagueneau in Pouilly-Fumé. And it was the latter which found itself under the spotlight in the recent auctions, with the virtually unprecedented occurrence of all the domaine’s wines – with just one exception, the unobtainable Astéroïde – being listed in the catalogue. And the smart buyers weren’t disappointed, with Clos du Calvaire’s rare Pouilly Fumé 2006 being snapped up by a Hong Kong connoisseur after a hard fight, at an average of €228 per bottle (+58%). The iconic Silex, for its part, hit a peak of €180 for the 1999 vintage. And the Pur Sang was not to be outdone, with the 2005 changing hands for €168. The 2011 Sancerre from Les Monts Damnés also did well, making €108 per bottle… a clear sign that the domaine is in safe hands with the talent of Benjamin Dagueneau (the son of Didier), who was named Winemaker of the Year by the Revue du Vin de France in 2016. The domaine also has a few Jurançon parcels producing a dry and a dessert wine, both of which go by the alluring name of Les Jardins de Babylone. The 2012 vintage of the former made €50, whereas bids for the latter closed at €78… for a half-bottle!

But the bidding for rare wines wasn’t all in the direction of the Loire region. Bordeaux – a region with a typically strong representation at auction – accounted for 42% of lots sold on 11 May. However, rarity was still in evidence even here, and was seen in the form of ready-to-drink grand millésimes such as 1982 or 1989. For example, 6 bottles of Haut-Brion 1989 went under the hammer for €5,880 (€980 per bottle), while 12 Château Margaux from the same vintage changed hands for €3,888 (€324 per bottle, +3%). At the same time, 12 bottles of Vieux Château Certan commanded €2,520 (€210 / bottle, +19%). And this rarity was even more pronounced in the larger bottle sizes: a Château Margaux 2005 was snapped up by a bidder from the United Arab Emirates for a cool €1,620 (+26%), while a bottle of Haut-Brion 1985 of the same size made €840 (+36%). An imperial of Château Lynch Bages 2000 changed hands for 2640€ – up 87% on iDealwine’s usual bottle-adjusted rate.

In Burgundy – a region which knows a thing or two about rare wines – the great names lived up to their usual reputations. At the top of the pile was a Romanée Conti 2009, which went under the hammer for €11,160, a fairly stable top-end price. And from the same domaine, a fine series of Grands-Echézeaux stirred a few emotions among wine lovers: the priciest of the set, the 1989, went for €1,140 (+34%), matching the 1969 (+44%). The 2006 made €876 (+23%) and the 1972 went for €804 (+5%). But the highest climber was the 1983, up 51% from its iDealwine index price, which went to a Japanese buyer for €840.

Rarity was still in evidence among the wines of other regions, with honours going to large bottle sizes of Rhône valley wines: a jeroboam of Ermitage l’Ermite 2007 from Chapoutier came close to €1,000 at auction (€960, +28%), while an Hermitage La Chapelle 1989 made €612 (+2%). Among the Champagnes, the top prize went to a bottle of Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Françaises, at €1,320 (+37%). In addition, let’s not forget the strong performance of the special cuvées from the Tempier domaine (€96 for a bottle of Cabassaou 1998, +7%). And to finish with the ultimate rarity, from the United States, a French buyer shelled out €1,980 to secure a bottle of Napa Valley’s celebrated Screaming Eagle 2013.


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