'Staggeringly concentrated' Romanee-Conti reigns at Christie's wine sale

Christie's carried out its first auction of fine wines following the August lull, in London on Thursday with the top three lots matching or bettering their estimates.

The sales total was a full £1,043,000 across nearly 600 lots, of which around a tenth was collectible port.

However, the lots which collectors and investors plumped for in the end were familiar examples of truly exceptional vineyards and years:

Firstly, there was a 12 bottle lot of Château Lafite-Rothschild 1959, listed at £20,000-30,000. Famously popular with the British wine trade, it was once proclaimed by the pundits as 'the vintage of the century'.

Wine critic Michael Broadbent described it thus:

"Rich, ripe bouquet and flavour [...] very deep, with dark cherry core; [...] touch of iron; sweet, glorious mouthfilling flavour, great length, spicy, with teeth-gripping tannins."

An impressed audience took the bids up to £34,500 before the lot left the stage.

1959 was blessed with a very favourable growing season, in particular a fine, warm summer, with rain mid-September to swell grapes. So many vineyards found they produced some of their greatest ever wines including Château Latour, of which a six magnum lot was on offer.

This sold on target for its £35,000 - £45,000 estimate at £40,250, which investors probably encouraged by the catalogue note that the vintage goes "from strength to strength".

The top lot is usually regarded as outstripping these and almost every other year, however, and was described by legendary critic Robert Parker as "staggeringly concentrated with a bouquet that almost defies articulation. It is a flashy, dramatic wine with astonishing length and mystique."

The 12 bottle lot of Romanée Conti 1988 nearly reached the top of its £40,000 - £50,000estimate, selling for £48,300.


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