Hart Davis Hart, America's largest wine auction house, conducted a highly successful auction over the weekend devoted exclusively to the wines of Château Lafite-Rothschild. The sale comprised the largest selection of Lafite ever offered at auction and was 100% sold, realising $5.8m in sales against a pre-sale auction estimate of $4.3m-$6.5m.
Bidders participated from 22 US states as well as Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. Five of the top ten invoices of the day went to Asian buyers.
The celebrated 1982 vintage brought in $1.39m over 39 lots and achieved the highest hammer prices of the sale; the top lots of the day were two full cases of this vintage (est. $40,000-$60,000), fetching $59,750 each. It is regarded as an excellent investment.
Renowned wine critic Michael Broadbent has previously described the vintage as "...a hugely impressive wine: medium-sweet, with delicious flavour and persistence." He noted its "spicy bouquet" and "beautiful development".
Other acclaimed vintages posted strong results as well, with several cases of the 100-point 1996 vintage bringing $23,900 (estimate $16,000-$24,000), and a case of the 1995 commanding $19,120 (est. $10,000-$15,000).
Prices for 15 of 20 comparable vintages rose from the strong levels achieved in Hart Davis Hart's most recent previous auction, held at the end of January. In total, prices for Lafite rose 4% sale to sale.
Both the 1998 and 1999 vintages rose more than 14% while the 1982 vintage fell slightly by 4.7%.The average price achieved per lot across the entire auction was an astounding $14,789.
Bidders in attendance at Chicago's award-winning restaurant TRU enjoyed tastings of several vintages of Lafite paired with specially-created dishes from Executive Chef Anthony Martin. Multiple vintages were poured from magnum format, making the day "a complete celebration of the legendary wines of Château Lafite," as Vice-Chairman Michael Davis noted.
Hart Davis Hart will be donating 3% of the buyer's premium from The Lafite Auction to Japan Society's Japan Earthquake Relief Fund and many of the consignors in the auction will provide matching donations. Hart Davis Hart will raise more than $30,000 which will be used to directly support victims of the earthquake and tsunami.
"The recent devastation in Japan has been weighing heavily on our minds, especially since many of our clients were directly impacted. We were thrilled to get such a great response in support of this effort from both our buyers and consignors," said Chairman John Hart.