The Loire: the top 20 highest-priced bottles at auction (first semester of 2018)

Clos RougeardAfter a look at the rankings of the top 50 most expensive bottles sold at auction so far in 2018, we’ll be focusing on the highest-priced bottles by region. First up: the Loire.

The Loire is a fascinating region ands it performance on the fine wine auction market merits analysis. In recent years it has become a breeding ground for exciting new producers motivated above all by a respect for the environment. Their new and experimental methods are changing the winemaking landscape in this region and putting lesser known or long forgotten appellations on the map. Natural wines (wine produced without sulphur) have also found a happy home in the Loire and as enthusiasts clamour to get their hands on them, the Loire has been attracting more and more attention at auction. In the first semester of 2018, this region represented 6% of sales in terms of volume and 4% of sales in terms of value, a steady progression on 2017 where the Loire represented 4% and 2% respectively.  What follow is a detailed analysis of the most expensive wines from this region to help you better understand the Loire’s value on the fine wine market.

Unsurprisingly, it is the white wines from this region that feature most prominently including a significant amount of sweet wines. The reds account for 25% of the rankings.

Once again, the Saumur-Champigny Le Bourg 1989 from Clos Rougeard finds itself on top thanks to an impressive hammer price of €912. Prices for this cuvée have magnified in recent years, so much so that the Bouygues family were seduced into buying the domaine in 2017. However, the staggering success of this particular bottle is thanks to a combination of a mythic and mature vintage.

The Vouvray Haut-Lieu 1921 from the (microscopic) Domaine Huet achieved a place on the podium, putting it on level pegging with Clos Rougeard. 1921 was a landmark vintage in the Loire for sweet wines, hence its position at the top. Third place is occupied by the Vouvray Goutte-d’Or 2015 from Clos Naudin thanks to its immense rarity (this cuvée is only produced in the best years).

Old vintages and deceased winemakers

Mature vintages, a memory of times past that can transport and move all those who taste them. Enthusiasts are willing to pay for such an experience and in addition to the Vouvray from Domaine Huet, the 1933 from Caves Duhard (€182), the 1937 from Château Chevrier (€122), Le Petit Monaco Bienvenu 1944 (€122) and the 1955 from Marc Bredif all performed well. The 1989 has proven itself to be an excellent vintage and appears four times in the top 20. This isn’t to say that recent vintages don’t grab attention too. 2015 cuvées took third and fifth place in these rankings.

The death of iconic winemakers always causes prices of their cuvées to erupt. This is the case for the Silex 1994, the Pouilly-Fumé from Didier Dageneau and the Montlouis Le Volagré 2007 from Stéphane Cossais who died in 2009.

Biodynamic and natural wines

Producers who adopt biodynamic and natural winemaking techniques have seen their bottles sky rocket at auction. Home to the pioneering Nicolas Joly, and his incomparable Savennières Clos de la Coulée Serrant, the Loire benefits in particular from this natural/biodynamic wine boom and a bottle of this iconic cuvée sold for €161.

With natural wines seducing enthusiasts on a global scale, the rankings even include two Vins de France and a Vin de Table! The cuvée Les Nourrissons 2015 from the great Stéphane Bernaudeau came fifth while Les Veilles Vignes des Blanderies 2010 from La Ferme de la Sansonnière took ninth position.

At this point, we would like to boast: our prediction last year that the Saumur from Domaine de Collier (owned by the son of Charly Foucault, former owner of Clos Rougeard) wouldn’t stay in 17th position for very long was indeed correct! This cuvée has jumped ten spots in the space of a year.

Finally, note that in 2018, all of the top 20 most expensive bottles from the Loire comfortably exceed the €100 threshold while the same could not be said for 2017. Interestingly, the majority of bottles were bought by enthusiasts residing in Finland or Asia.

Check the blog for the next instalments in this series!

The top 20 highest-priced bottles of the first semester of 2018


 Position Lot Colour Lot price (incl. VAT) Price (per 75cl bottle & incl. VAT) Variation on price estimate (or reserve price) Date of sale Country of residence of winning bidder
1 Bottle of Saumur-Champigny Le BouRed 1989 – Clos Rougeard Red 912 € 912 € 22% 30/01/2018 Finland
2 Bottle of Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu 1921 – Huet Sweet white 912 € 912 € 7% 03/05/2018 Finland
3 Bottle of Vouvray Goutte d’Or 2015 – Clos Naudin Sweet white 778 € 778 € 27/06/2018 France
4 Bottle of Chinon Clos de La Dioterie 1989 – C. Joguet Red 280 € 280 € 154% 30/01/2018 France
5 Bottle of Les Nourrissons 2015 – S. Bernaudeau White 255€ 255 € 133% 13/06/2018 Hong Kong
6 Bottle of Bonnezeaux 1947 – Château de Fesles Sweet white 255 € 255 € 67% 14/03/2018 France
7 Bottle of Saumur La Charpentrie 2006 – Collier White 243 € 243 € 300% 27/06/2018 Hong Kong
8 Bottle of Pouilly Fumé Silex 1994 – Dagueneau White 243 € 243 € 181% 16/05/2018 Hong Kong
9 Bottle of Les Vieilles Vignes des Blanderies 2010 – Ferme de la Sansonnière White 208 € 208 € 850% 13/06/2018 Hong Kong
10 Magnum of Sancerre Clos la Neore 2014 – Edmond Vatan White 413 € 207 € 13% 16/05/2018 USA
11 Bottle of Vouvray 1955 – Marc Bredif Sweet white 182 € 182 € 284% 03/05/2018 Australia
12 Bottle of Vouvray 1933 – Caves Duhard White 182 € 182 € 23/05/2018 Hong Kong
13 Bottle of Montlouis Le Volagré 2007 – Stéphane Cossais White 176 € 176 € 161% 21/06/2018 Hong Kong
14 Bottle of  Les Noëls de Montbenault 2010 – Richard Leroy White                            170 € 170 € 364% 21/06/2018 Hong Kong
15 Bottle of Savennières Clos de la Coulée de Serrant 1989 White 161 € 161 € 91% 30/01/2018 Hong Kong
16 Bottle of Chinon Clos de l’Olive 1961 – Couly Red 146 € 146 € 371% 17/01/2018 Hong Kong
17 3 bottles of Montlouis Romulus Plus 2003 – La Taille Aux Loups White 413 € 138 € 578% 03/05/2018 Finland
18 Bottle of Bonnezeaux 1943 – René Renou Sweet white 134 € 134 € 10% 03/05/2018 Singapour
19 2 bottles of Vouvray Le Petit Monaco 1944 – Bienvenu White 243 € 122 € 23/05/2018 Hong Kong
20 Bottle of Vouvray 1937 – Château Chevrier White 122 € 122 € 03/05/2018 France

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Other things to read on the iDealwine blog:

The top 50 highest-priced bottles at auction (first semester of 2018)

A year at auction: the top 50 most expensive bottles of 2017

Romanée-Conti 2000: new auction record on iDealwine at €17,146


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