Californian cult wines expected to prove popular at Wally's

California's cult wines are expected to sell well at Wally's Auctions' October 24 sale in New York, following a recent rise in popularity and value.

Screaming Eagle Wine California cult Wallys
Robert Parker graded Screaming Eagle's 1992 vintage 99 points (out of 100), making it highly desirable. Small production numbers keep demand high.

The familiar favourites from Bordeaux and Burgundy will feature, but it is the rare California wines that are expected to excite bidders. Cult wines are typically produced in small quantities to exacting standards, making them something of a trophy purchase for collectors.

Leading bids among the Californians offered in the sale will be a set of three 3-litre bottles of Screaming Eagle's 1992, 1993 and 1994 vintages, which is expected to sell for $70,000-120,000.

The wines come from a single-owner collection, with Wally's president and CEO, Michael Jessen, stating that the collector is "someone who has had access to a lot of Californian cults", describing the lots as "a pretty exceptional collection" to the Drinks Business.

"The sale could be an interesting bellwether for the attraction to the cults," Jessen added.

The popularity of the wines can be attributed to the meticulous care afforded to the small batches, which age exceptionally well. Jessen told the Drinks Business that buyers are particularly interested in Cabernet based California wines from the late 1960s to early 1980s.

Also starring is a potentially unique lot of Harlan Estate, which was purchased by the collector at the annual Napa Valley charity auction. Featuring three 3-litre bottles of the 1992, 1993 and 1994, the bottles are presented in a special leather briefcase, and will sell with an $8,000-12,000 estimate.

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