Sotheby's sale of fine and rare wines yesterday (February 17) had a surprise star.
Whilst as expected the Château Petrus 1982 stirred interest amongst bidders and sold on target at £12,650, it lagged behind a lot which hadn't previously stood out from the crowd.
Château Cheval Blanc 2006 is well-regarded, often thought to be better than the 2005 vintage with deep purple colour and scents of cherries and black fruits. But Sotheby's had only estimated the 239th lot at a relatively modest £3,600-4,800.
Perhaps the reason for this cautious estimate is the container for the wine. Not the box, which was the original wooden case, suggesting careful storage, but the actual bottle size.
Rather than being, for example, a 12 bottle lot, the wine was contained in a Melchior - 24 times a normal bottle size and containing 18 litres.
The prices achieved for such huge bottles sometimes comes apart from those achieved for standard size pieces as collectors either love them or hate them. Certainly they're not worth opening unless you're throwing a banquet, though that doesn't mean they aren't a good investment.
When the vast bottle was wheeled onto stage, however, bidders were enthusiastic and buffeted the price all the way up to £16,100.