UK auctions: Spanish reds eclipse sherries

UK auctions: Spanish reds eclipse sherries News Wine News
  • Tuesday 12 December 2000

A 186-lot collection of rare single vintage sherries from Williams & Humbert fared disappointingly at Christie's marathon two-day sale on 7 and 8 December in London.

Billed as the historic single vintage collection, most of the sherry lots at The Finest and Rarest Wines, Whisky and Cigars sale fetched prices below their low estimates. The sale of top Spanish table wines which followed, however, produced some spectacular results - most notably from Marques de Murrieta and Vega Sicilia.

The highest lot price paid for a Spanish wine was the £3,400 (US$5,100) for each of two giant 27-litre bottles of 1970 Murrieta Castillo Ygay Reserva Especial. A case of the 1970 fetched £1,595 (US$2,390), putting it higher than all the Bordeaux First Growths of the same vintage, Latour and Cheval Blanc apart.

Meanwhile, six-bottle lots of Murrieta from 1925 and 1934 realised £935 (US$1,400) and £1,375 (US$2,060) respectively. Vega Sicilia 'Unico' went for £1,925 (£2,890) for a case of the 1970, £1,760 (US$2,640) for the 1964 and £1,595 (US$2,390) for the 1966 vintage.

In the pre-Christmas rush, spirits and cigars saw active trading with a 1492 humidor of 50 cigars, 5 5/8 inch, 46 gauge (made to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Columbus' crossing) reaching £8,250 (US$12,375), while two 25-cigar boxes of 1986 Davidoff Dom Perignon 7 inch, 47 gauge each made £5,500 (US$8,250).

Grappa and whisky sales were very lively with collectors' items such as a 50-year old Macallan selling for £3,800 (US$5,700) and a Dalmore 50-year-old at £2,000 (US$3,500). Even Bacardi breezed along, with £1,430 (US$2,150) paid for a dozen bottles of Bacardi Superior believed to be from the 1920s. In total the sale, with lot prices including buyer's premium, realised £1,030 272 (US$1,545, 408).

picture courtesy of Christie's

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