Christie's $539,000 Lafite vertical stands tall as 'highest priced fine wine lot of 2011'

Christie's hugely anticipated Finest and Rarest Wines - Featuring a Spectacular Lafite Vertical concluded at the weekend (September 3-4), and the Hong Kong auction didn't disappoint.

Perhaps surprisingly, five of the top six lots were Burgundy in a Bordeaux-heavy auction.

Three 12 bottle lots of the wonderful Romanée-Conti 1988 sold, one for HK$960,000 (US$123,264)and two for HK$900,000 against estimates of HK$680,000-800,000. One was sold to a European private bidder and the other two to a Chinese collector.

Cases of Romanée-Conti 1989 and La Tache 1990 also brought HK$840,000 and HK$780,000 from European bidders.

Even more notable was the position following these which was occupied by just six bottles of Moet and Chandon 1911. These had been expected to achieve HK$380,000-500,000 but soared up above this like a released Champagne cork, reaching HK$780,000 (US$ 100,152).

The result highlights the increasing influence of collectors such as Robert A Rosania, who are chasing down vintage Champagne, which was previously not considered fashionable.

But of course, this is all window-dressing compared to the title lot: a stunning Château Lafite-Rothschild vertical with 12 bottles from all the vintages 1981-2005, which had been "lovingly stored in perfect condition since purchase".

The lot, worthy of becoming a tasting session at the table of Lloyd Flatt or Bipin Desai, was particularly anticipated at Lafite as it has become the wine of choice in the Chinese markets, with the name sometimes generating results that critics think outstrip the quality of the wine.

In the event it sold towards the top end of its mammoth HK$3.5m-4.5m at HK$4.2m (US$539,280) to a private Chinese collector - the highest priced wine lot of the year so far.

Charles Curtis M.W., Head of Wine for Christie's Asia, commented:

"We are delighted with the very strong result of our two day wine sale in Hong Kong. These results confirm the passion of Asian clients for fine and rare wine, and indicate that interest in wine transcends fluctuations in the world economy.

"We are particularly happy with the HK$4.2 million achieved by our spectacular 25 year vertical of Château Lafite-Rothschild, the most valuable lot of wine sold worldwide this year.

"Results for Romanée-Conti, La Tâche, and Jayer's Cros Parantoux also point to the burgeoning interest in Burgundy, while the HK$780,000 achieved by the 1911 Moët & Chandon with proceeds donated by Moët to The Nature Conservancy, demonstrates not only the charitable generosity of our clients, but also the growing diversity of the wine cellars in Asia."


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