UK auctions: Sotheby's birthday treat

UK auctions: Sotheby's birthday treat News Wine News
  • Thursday 12 April 2001

There were some daunting tasks facing Sotheby's wine department in cataloguing and estimating the 1,888 lots which go under the hammer at Sotheby's 30th anniversary sale in London.

The Fine and Rare wine auction, taking place from 19 to 20 September (2000), features several rarities stretching back over a century. A pre-phylloxera burgundy is just part of a historic collection of burgundies laid down by Bouchard Pere et Fils in the family's cold, damp, subterranean cellars in Beaune.

With the new owner Joseph Henriot deciding to do a spot of Augean stable cleaning, this is a chance to buy that rare bottle of 1864 Montrachet estimated at £1,200 - £1,500 ($1,800 - $2,250) or 1886 La Tache estimated at £500 - £700 ($750 - $1,050), or any of the other 250 lots of prime Cote d'Or burgundy up for grabs.

For the sweet of tooth, the same celebratory sale features a collection of Chateau Filhot and Coutet back to 1890 and 1889 respectively. For the man who has everything except his own fine wine cellar, there are two so-called superlots.

The first, a case each of 30 vintages of Chateau Palmer spanning the vintages 1942 - 1996, is expected to fetch £30,000 - £40,000 ($45,000 - $60,000). The second, a millennium collection devised by wine merchant John Armit, is a who's who of the great and good with 25 mixed cases of the greatest wines of France, Italy and Spain, estimated at £22,000 - £28,000 ($33,000 - $42,000).

Other gems in the birthday sale include a vertical of Grange 1965 - 1992, which Sotheby's feels could fetch between £10,000 and £15,000 ($15,000 - $22,500), a rare 1900 bottle of Chateau Margaux estimated to sell for £3,400 - £4,000 ($5,100 - $6,000), as well as a bottling of 1748 Rudesheimer (pictured) with a price tag of £400 - £600 ($600 - $900).

For the garage wine fraternity, there's Chateau Valandraud from Bordeaux and New Zealand's pretender, Providence, a case of whose Private Reserve is estimated to sell for £420 - £500 ($630 - $750). And more, as they say, much more.

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