For enthusiasts of rare Champagnes, seasonality does not really exist at auctions; these collectors are on high alert year-round to be able to get their hands on the bottles they want. However, the final months of the years are when there is an abundance of rare blends, old vintages, and generally speaking, more renowned Champagnes available at auction.
Champagne has seen remarkable success following the successive periods of lockdowns during the pandemic. The uptake in sales at the end of 2021 surprised everyone, starting with the producers themselves. In 2022, the region saw record after record, selling 339 million bottles (close to the highest volume recorded in 2007) for a figure of more than €6 billion. For a few months now, the geopolitical situation has taken the zest out of the market and demand has dropped, expect for the rarest wines which never lose their appeal, of course. These utterly unique cuvées at the top of the market retain the favour of passionate collectors.
Honouring the great houses
Last month in iDealwine auctions, a brilliant variety of wines, coming from both the great established houses and not very well-known producers, were the talk of the town. Salon is one of the houses skilfully combining the reputation of an established institution with the rarity of its production, having retained its unique position even though it is now part of the Laurent Perrier group. The 1966 vintage of its famous – and only – blend brought home the highest price in October, having obtained €2,504, with a bottle from the 1985 vintage reaching €1,690 (+13%). A bottle of 1997 was snapped up by a wine enthusiast in Singapore for €1,127, and bottles from 1999 and 2004 both went under the hammer for €1,064.
Among the names that helped Champagne gain the reputation it has today, Krug stood out in October’s auctions on iDealwine. A 1988 bottle of Krug Collection, a rare blend that the house no longer produces, was bought by a German wine lover for €1,252 (+8%). Other classic labels also appealed to aficionados – no surprise there. Dom Pérignon from 2009 obtained €313, a 1993 bottle of Cristal from the Roederer house sold for €351, and a 1990 Grande Année from Bollinger, went under the hammer for €313, being bought by a bidder from Portugal.
Grower Champagnes – Selosse and the like
The plot-by-plot approach adopted by the Jacques Selosse house is held in high regards by enthusiasts and it follows the style of the Champagne region. The Les Chantereines cuvée (from grapes grown in the Avize Grand Cru) sold at auction for €1,064. Les Carelles, a Blanc de Blancs with the grapes coming from Mesnil-sur-Oger, sold for €613, a little below the famous Substance cuvée, a wholly Chardonnay Champagne crafted using the Spanish solera technique, which reached €689, while the Brut Rosé sold for €658.
We also saw the presence of several rare and popular bottles produced by Marie-Noëlle Ledru, who is enjoying her retirement nowadays. Her Champagnes are therefore collectable items – particularly the Goulté cuvée, an intensely vinous Blanc des Noirs, which sold for €313. The 2006 vintage of it has become extremely sought-after, being bought for €751 by an Austrian enthusiast.
Bidders also welcomed Ulysse Collin‘s Champagnes with open arms. His Les Maillons, a rosé de saignée (saignée comes from the French verb ‘to bleed’ as the juice is bled, or drained off, from the grape skins), sold for €426 (+12%) and his Blanc de Blancs Les Pierrières obtained €401 (+18%) – both these cuvées are Extra-Brut. Names such as Savart – a magnum of Le Mont des Chrétiens 2016 sold for €351 -, Aurélien Lurquin and Bérêche also caused a stir at iDealwine’s October auctions. So many rising stars in a region that is simply, well, bubbling.
See the full auction report for October on iDealwine
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