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Mystery owner auctions US$26m wine collection in Hong Kong four

Time:2019-03-31 17:08wine - Red wine life health Click:

台北時報 The Taipei Times

A wine collection of nearly 17,000 bottles from a single cellar — including grand cru Burgundies and first-growth Bordeaux — is expected to bring as much as US$26 million at auction, Sotheby’s said.

The four-day sale that began on Friday in Hong Kong features more than 250 lots of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti spanning more than five decades. Top Bordeaux, including La Mission Haut-Brion 1945 and Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1961, are also on the block, the catalog showed.

Although Sotheby’s has not disclosed the seller’s identity, there are hints in the catalog.

The collector is described as a fifth-generation property developer, and the preponderance of Burgundies suggests a younger collector, as older ones have favored Bordeaux, Heller Beverage Consultancy wine expert Sarah Heller said.

“You just don’t see collections like these come along very often,” Heller said. “People will look at it as a barometer of interest, and the rarefied world of top Burgundy collectors will be watching with bated breath.”

Single-owner sales usually command a premium at auction because buyers can more easily check the wines’ provenance as well as storage and transport history when the seller’s identity is known.

There is no mystery about the provenance of a special edition of five-bottle cases of Mouton Rothschild that go on sale tomorrow, the final day of the auction.

The bottles have been stored at the Bordeaux chateau since bottling and could earn prices 10 to 15 percent higher than wines not sold directly by the producer, Sotheby’s worldwide head of wine Jamie Ritchie said.

“People will be paying for pristine provenance,” Ritchie said.

Each of the 25 identical lots includes an invitation for two to attend a dinner held at the Palace of Versailles, where the famous 1945 vintage is to be served. The estimate per case is US$20,000 to US$25,000.

“Not only do you get some of the finest bottles of Bordeaux wine, but also the chance to experience firsthand an evening of French culture and history at the palace,” said Philippe Sereys de Rothschild, chief executive officer of Baron Philippe de Rothschild.

Tomorrow’s sale would also include bottles of single-malt whiskey, as well as Kweichow Moutai, the Chinese sorghum-based liquor that has become sought-after by Asian collectors.

The most expensive lot of the fiery drink is from the 1997 vintage, of which only 1997 bottles were made to commemorate that year’s handover of Hong Kong to China. The 12 bottles and original cardboard carton have an estimate of US$85,000 to US$140,000.


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