Auction Report: Strong enthusiasm for Petrus, La Chapelle 1961 & top Champagne

Going against the grain, on a market where Bordeaux wines have remained stable for many months, one wine has stirred up the auctions, and wine enthusiasts – Petrus.

The last online auctions of 2015 included the traditional prestige bottles. This year, Petrus has made the headlines, with at least 150 bottles of precious Pomerol sold in their original wooden cases, alongside bottles of big name Champagne, an extremely rare 1961 Hermitage La Chapelle and wines from the Romanée Conti estate. Let’s take a look at the astonishing prices.

A rare series of Petrus bottles, sold at the auctions on December 30, has strengthened the excellent price performance of the legendary Pomerol. Leading the way, unsurprisingly, is the 2000, up by 7% to €3640. As expected, top vintages such as the 1995 (€1,800, +15%) and the 1998 (€2,520, +14%) have sold well, but more minor years have nothing to be ashamed of either. With the exception of the 1993, stable at €1,360, other vintages have all progressed, including the1987 (€1,300, +8%), 1994 (€1,520, +14%), 1997 (€1,600, +14%) and 1999 (€1,600, +10%).

Petrus also featured in mixed cases of top wines from the same year, boosting the bidding here as well. The recovery of Château Lafite wines was strengthened too, at least for mature vintages, with the price for the 1986 increasing by 21% to €810.  Finally, among the premiers crus classés, Château Latour made excellent progress with its 1996 selling for €584, an increase of 27%.

In Burgundy, the big names headlined. A bottle of 2006 Romanée Conti almost reached the threshold of €10,000, at €9,602, and a Montrachet from the same estate reached €3248 for its 2007 vintage (stable). The Leroy estate’s Romanée Saint Vivant 1964, soaring to €1,560 (+44%), and a Clos-Vougeot 1964, from the same place and selling at €780 (+30%), were also highly sought after. There was one outsider among the top performers. The Clos-Vougeot 1985 from the Georges Mugneret estate saw an exponential rise in its usual price with its magnum size selling for €1260, an increase of 276% on its price for a bottle. High-end Chardonnays were not to be outdone either. In first place came the traditional Coche-Dury (€1,296 for a Corton Charlemagne 1994), Leflaive (€432 for a Bâtard Montrachet 1996) and Etienne Sauzet (€480 for a magnum of Bâtard Montrachet 1999, +14%). In demand names included the Georges Roumier, Anne Gros and René Engel (now Eugénie) estates.

Hermitage La Chapelle 1961: an unobtainable bottle

In the Rhône Valley, one of the region’s most mythical bottles, an incredibly rare Hermitage La Chapelle 1961, was up for auction this sale. It found a buyer at €8,160, a price 16% higher than its iDealwine listing. Wines from the Côte Rôtie also performed well, especially J-M. Gerin’s Landonne 2001, with the price for a magnum rising 117% to €228. At the same time, a 1990 bottle from the Jamet estate almost reached the €400 mark (€396, +76%). Wines from Cornas are still highly valued too, especially those from an estate that has now gone. A bottle of 1983 Marcel Juge, reached €216.

In Languedoc, white wines from the Grange des Pères estate were the subject of intense bidding. The 2008 sold for €204 (+35%), the 2009 reached €276 (+44%) and the 2004 went for €192 (+39%).

Champagne has had an extremely eventful end of year. A number of names stand out, having caused bidding wars among connoisseurs from all four corners of the globe.  The Cuvée Dom Ruinart saw a comfortable price increase: +35% for the 1990 at €192, and +21% for the 1988 (€174). Krug also appeared among the iconic brands, the only Grande Cuvée (non-vintage) reached €204 (+55%) at the end of the year. At the same time, a 1996 Dom Pérignon increased by 15% to €240. It is Selosse however that saw its prices leap during intense bidding for each of its lots. At the very top, the 1990 Brut Initial went for €1,020 (+70%), and the 1996 Extra-Brut Blanc de Blancs sold at €840 (+75%). The Cuvée Substance sold for €312 (+49%). It is interesting to note that the majority of these bottles are on their way to Asia, suggesting growth in an area where Champagne has been slow to make an impact compared to other types of wine. And finally, Billecart-Salmon has performed outstandingly with its Grande Cuvée 1988 reaching €390 (+114%) and the Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon 1990 soaring to €360 (+71%).  Champagne houses such as Egly-Ouriet, Laurent Perrier, Perrier-Jouët and Veuve Clicquot also achieved excellent results to enhance their track records.


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