Christie's wine auction in London on March 10 has wine lovers excited. Comprising more than 250 lots, the sale is expected to achieve in the region of £700,000.
The wines are offered from the extensive cellar of a British collector, who enjoys both drinking wine and collecting it. The vendor has decided to trim down his cellar, keeping only a small number of bottles for private consumption and providing others with a rare opportunity to acquire the very best.
"In the course of a broad, long, career in wine I cannot recall a private collection of wine of this size and quality," commented noted wine expert Michael Broadbent.
"I can say without hesitation that it includes no wines that are less than outstanding."
Although not originally purchased for investment, a combination of luck, increased Asian interest in the market, and a discerning palate for the best quality wines has led to a number of cases now being worth much more than their original 'en primeur' price.
Three examples from Château Lafite-Rothschild include:
· A superb 1986 vintage for which the 'en primeur' price in 1987 was £350 for a 12 bottle case, now estimated at £14,000-17,000.
· A 1996 vintage, released in 1997 for £950 and now expected to achieve £12,000-15,000.
· A 2000 vintage, released a decade ago at £1,950 per case and regarded as one of the most sought-after wines in the collection. Six magnums of the vintage are expected to realise £15,000-20,000.
Further highlights from the collection include nine bottles of Pétrus, vintage 1989, estimated at £14,500-18,000 and twelve bottles of Condrieu from Guigal, vintage 2004, which could tempt investors at the more affordable end of the market, with an estimate of £140-180.