Champagne | Highest-priced bottles of 2019 so far

Baroville, Champagne vineyards in the Cote des Bar area of the Aube departm

Here is the first instalment of our region-by-region analyses of the best-selling bottles of the first half of 2019. This week, we take a closer look at the most prized wines from Champagne. You won’t be surprised to see that old vintages, rare wines, prestigious houses and large formats are on top.

We have chosen to cite only the most expensive vintage of a property by converting its auction price to basic bottle size (75 cl).

Landmark years on top

As often in this region where vintage bottles are not common, the best years are very popular. This is reflected in many auction lots, ranging from 1952 (a magnum of Perrier-Joüet) to 2006 (a Jeroboam of Love Deutz).

During the first semester of 2019, four Champagne houses stand out with an auction value over €1,000. The first is Dom Pérignon 1959 from Moët et Chandon, which sold at €6,202. In second place, you’ll find the Cuvée « S » 1959 from Salon (€4,134 in 2019 vs €3,480 in 2018). This house, famous for its Chardonnay champagnes from Mesnil-sur-Oger (in the Côte des Blancs), is distinguished by its tiny production levels (between 60,000 and 80,000 bottles) of only vintage champagnes. Moreover, this year again, the Clos du Mesnil from Krug ranks third on the podium with, this time, the 1988 vintage. This result proves the interest in treasures from prestigious houses, for instance the cuvée Winston Churchill 1990 by Pol Roger.

Grower champagnes vs champagne houses, the rivalry goes international

Although still a minority of production, grower champagnes are attracting a lot of attention. The atypical vinous nectars from Jacques Selosse confirm their growing success (the blanc de blancs Extra-Brut 1996 went under the hammer for €754 in the first half of 2019, the same vintage wine sold for €456 in 2018) and those of Jacquesson are also seeing good growth. A bottle of 1989 late disgorgement Jacquesson was bought at €372, propelling it to 9th position. A timid breakthrough for the moment, which also affirms the appetite for prestigious bottles from iconic houses with an international reputation. Introducing Krug (No. 3) and its cuvée Clos du Mesnil, Bollinger (No. 4) and its rare « Vieilles Vignes Françaises » made from pre-phylloxeric plants, Philipponat (No. 11) and Billecart-Salmon (No. 12) with their respective single-parcel cuvées: Clos des Goisses and Clos Saint-Hilaire (a plot of one hectare with a complete vinification system on place).

Fine bubbles and large formats

If the highest-priced wines correspond to bottles, we have witnessed growing interest in large formats, as seen in the sale of a Mathuselah of Cristal 2002 by Louis Roederer, a Jeroboam of Amour 2006 from Deutz and magnums of 1985 Dom Ruinart and René Lalou 1985 from Mumm.

Un mot pour conclure ? Rappelons ce que les vignerons ne cessent nous dire : « les champagnes gagnent à vieillir ». Les bulles s’affinent, les arômes évoluent et s’harmonisent. Bien avisés seriez-vous si vous misez sur leur potentiel. Vous pensez détenir un beau flacon millésimé ? Gardez-le bien précieusement, demandez une estimation gratuite ou vendez-le. Sans doute le verrez-vous un jour figurer au sein d’un futur palmarès, qui sait ?

A quest for specialist wines

Salon in second position underlines the growing curiosity for specialist, collectors’ wines. In the same category, we find Egly-Ouriet (n° 16, with its Brut Grand Cru 1996), a small-scale house that cultivates vines from massal selection. The same applies to Pierre Péters, whose family owns 20 hectares of of beautiful vines that produce powerful and elegant wines. And finally, of course, at a time when organics is of the moment, the biodynamic house Louis Roederer is in seventh position, with a Cristal 2002.

To conclude, we mustn’t forget that favourite adage of winemakers: “champagnes get better with age”. The bubbles get finer over time; the aromas evolve and harmonise. You would do well to bet on their cellaring potential. If you think you have a top vintage bottles, why not ask for a free estimate? You can either keep it or sell it, and who knows, it might one day feature on the podium of an iDealwine ranking!

Highest-priced bottle Date  Hammer price (inc. VAT)  Unit hammer price (inc. VAT) converted to bottle format (75cL) Variation on iDealwine price estimate Buying country Buyer profile
Rosé 1 Bottle of Dom Pérignon Moët & Chandon 1959 27/02/2019               6,202 €                     6,202 € 9% United-Kingdom Trade
White 1 Bottle of Salon  Cuvée S 1959 31/01/2019               4,134 €                     4,134 € 89% Japan Private
White 1 Bottle of Clos du Mesnil Krug 1988 09/05/2019               1,824 €                     1,824 € 4% France Private
White 1 Bottle of Vieilles Vignes Françaises Bollinger 1990 13/03/2019               1,398 €                     1,398 € Austria Private
White 2 Bouteilles Comtes de Champagne Champagne Taittinger 1976 24/04/2019               1,873 €                        937 € 44% France Private
White 1 Bottle of Jacques Selosse Millésime Brut Blanc de blancs Extra-Brut 1996 24/04/2019                  754 €                        754 € Hong Kong Private
White 1 Mathusalem Louis Roederer Cristal 2002 24/04/2019               4,864 €                        608 € Germany Private
White 1 Bottle of Pol Roger Cuvée Winston Churchill 1990 20/03/2019                  389 €                        389 € 3% Hong Kong Trade
White 1 Bottle of Dégorgement Tardif Jacquesson Signature 1989 22/05/2019                  372 €                        372 € France Private
White 1 Bottle of Réserve Charlie Charles Heidsieck 1979 23/01/2019                  340 €                        340 € 15% Italy Private
White 1 Bottle of Clos des Goisses Philipponnat 1975 06/03/2019                  316 €                        316 € Hong Kong Private
White 1 Bottle of Brut Le Clos Saint-Hilaire Billecart-Salmon 1998 03/04/2019                  304 €                        304 € 13% Hong Kong Private
White 1 Bottle of Brut Champagne Henri Giraud Argonne 2002 06/03/2019                  268 €                        268 € 15% France Private
White 1 Magnum of Dom Ruinart Ruinart 1985 17/04/2019                  535 €                        268 € 47% Slovakia Private
White 2 Bottles of La Grande Dame Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin 1985 05/06/2019                  511 €                        255 € 16% United Kingdom Trade
White 1 Bottle of Brut Grand Cru Egly-Ouriet  1996 20/03/2019                  233 €                        233 € 9% France Private
White 1 Bottle of Cuvée des Princes de Venoge 1976 19/06/2019                  231 €                        231 € 7% Denmark Private
White 1 Bottle of Brut Pommery 1953 24/04/2019                  219 €                        219 € France Trade
White 1 Bottle of Brut Champagne Armand de Brignac Gold 20/03/2019                  207 €                        207 € Hong Kong Trade

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