Near-mythical 'La Chapelle' 1961 goes down well in Geneva

Following the grand success of their recent auction in New York, which was led by a mile by 12 bottles of the legendary Romanée-Conti 1990, Christie's held another sale of fine wine in Geneva on Tuesday May 11.

The sale totalled a grand CHF2.1m (roughly $2m) for 440 lots. Romanée-Conti 1990 made another impressive appearance amongst the top sales, with five bottles, held in their original wooden case, bringing CHF80,500 ($73,000) - easily clear of its CHF45,000-55,000 estimate.

This was not the top lot, however. That honour went to a six bottle lot of Hermitage 'La Chapelle'. Universally regarded as one of the greatest wines of the twentieth century, the very rare wine has been held in a professional wine cellar all its life.

Robert Parker gave it the perfect rating of 100 points, writing the following in 2000:

"As the wine sits in the glass, notions of pepper, new saddle leather, grilled meat, and awesome levels of blackberry, plum, and black currant liqueur-like notes emerge.

"Extremely unctuous, with compelling concentration and purity, this full-bodied, seamless, mouthfilling 1961 is truly immortal. It still possesses a freshness and vigor that defy its nearly forty years of age. It should continue to drink well for two more decades. Prodigious stuff!"

Bidders could not resist that kind of endorsement and pushed the six bottle lot up past its CHF60,000-80,000 to reach CHF109,250 ($100,000).


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