Sotheby's held two auctions of rare and collectible red wine over the weekend in the rapidly growing marketplace of Hong Kong.
The two sales, entitled Cheval Blanc, Yquem and Dom Perignon and the more lyrical Seven Stellar Cellars achieved a grand total of HK$56m (roughly US$7.2m) between them with many of the finest vintages beating their estimates.
One fascinating lot was a nine bottle vertical selection of Château d'Yquem spanning some of the very best the vintage has produced in three different centuries: the 1899, 1909, 1929, 1939, 1949, 1959, 1989, 1999 and 2009.
The lot was all the more remarkable as the 2009 vintage has not yet been bottled, and was represented by an empty bottle of Château d'Yquem with a certificate.
That remarkable collection brought HK$411,400 (US$52,700) against an estimate of HK$140,000-240,000. But it was to be outdone.
That honour went to just three bottles of Château Cheval Blanc 1947 (one just into the neck, the other two more clearly into the neck). The wine is well known to many collectors and investors. Sotheby's Serena Sutcliffe (Master of Wine) describes it as follows:
"It can shout blackcurrants and sweetness, as well as coffee and chocolate, something of a Bailey's Cream of a wine! I have seen bottles of perfect provenance that have a thick Portiness unlike any other wine plus fireworks on the finish, truly overwhelming."
Bidders were certainly impressed, and the small collection (in its original wooden case) was finally taken away for HK$556,600 (US$71,300), smashing its HK$200,000-340,000 estimate.
The auction will be a reminder of Hong Kong's growing stature in the wine market.
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