Auction Report September 2021 | Spotlight on Spain

As you already know, France isn’t the only place to produce fine treasures of the wine world. Italian, German, and American wines often feature in our auctions, but recently we’ve seen particular interest in signatures from Spain. And some of these are getting pretty dynamic on the French market.

Vega Sicilia, Iberian icon

There are Spanish wines that can count themselves among some of the best the world can drink, and Vega Sicilia is one of them. This is an historic estate whose winemaking days date back to 1848, and the Alvarez family, who overtook in 1982, has taken the domain’s prestige to new heights. L’Unico is Vega Sicilia’s flagship cuvée, and it this ruby nectar has played an important role in building the domain’s legendary status; this wine is made using mature Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon, a blend then aged for at least six years in casks and four years in the bottle! L’Unico has had much success on the auction market, particularly with its older vintages. A 1970 recently went under the hammer for €853 (+6%), a 1964 for €798, and a 1961 for €737, the latter representing a 54% jump in value. These particular bottles went to top bidders in France and the UK.

Viña Tondonia, the soul of Rioja

In the Rioja region, Viña Tondonia stands out somewhat, possessing qualities that make it special to many a wine enthusiast. In the hands of the same family for 144 years – the López de Heredias – the domain is one of the longest-standing in the region, as well as one of the few to remain a family affair. The Riojas made there are superb examples of the local craft, with extensive ageing, even for the white cuvées; this confers a delicate and original oxidative style much loved by the domain’s followers and a real distinguishing factor. The 1991 Gran Riserva cuvée was recently bought by an Austrian client for €307 (+96%), whilst a Hong Kong resident placed a top bid of €280 on a 1961 Reserva R.

Marques de Murrieta

Sticking with Rioja, another domain worthy of a mention for its auction results is Marques de Murriata. This is another family estate where long ageing is prioritised as part of the vinification process. To be specific, the wines age for around two years in casks and two years in the bottle. This is a name that can be heard more and more on the lips of wine lovers across the world. The 1982 Gran Reserva Ygay cuvée went under the hammer for €117, an increase of 253% in market value, whilst the 1964 Etiqueta Blanca cuvée went for €93.

This is just a glimpse of the Spanish names making their way into collectors’ cellars, as we observe a rise in the presence of non-French wines sold at our auctions. For us, non-French cuvées represented 4% of 2020 auction sales in terms of volume, and 5% in value, figures that are only showing signs of going up! The curiosity of fine wine enthusiasts clearly knowns no bounds…

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