A 'controlled explosion' of a wine blasts its way to the top at Sotheby's auction

This last weekend, Sotheby's sent a vast number of bottles under the hammer for their New York fine and rare wine sale.

Of the 1,014 lots, one year was clearly dominant, no doubt due to the fact that it was featuring the Bordeaux Winebank 2000 collection. Most of the top twenty lots were from the millennial year.

In the sale, which totalled $5.4m, Lafite 2000 in particular featured in a leading role with two 12 bottle lots in their original wooden cases cruising past their $16,000-25,000 listings to sell for $36,300 apiece.

As we've mentioned in previous articles, Lafite is proving particularly popular in China, and its potential as an investment is even stronger there than other fine vintages. This may be because 'Lafite' sounds like 'on the way up' in that country.

Lafite 1982 faired even better with a case of 12 bottles beating its $30,000-40,000 listing to bring $57,475. Sotheby's Serena Sutcliffe is particularly enamoured of this vintage, and importantly tips it to have a long life - a factor that wine investors must consider:

"Obviously, I have watched this great wine from birth and it is evolving slowly, in that inimitable Lafite way. In 2009, it has kept its intensely aromatic nose of enormous concentration - amazing when one considers the high yield of the vintage.

"Again, surprisingly, given the hot year, the taste is full of youthful acidity. Decant well in advance of drinking as it plumps out with every hour that passes, a sure indication of the very long life ahead of it."

However, this was not the top lot. Instead, three cases of Chateau Petrus 2000 went for $72,600 each, trouncing their $30,000-50,000 estimates. The extraordinary vintage once referred to by Christian Moueix as "a controlled explosion" blew bidders away.


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