UK Auctions: Tappit-hens and charity magnums

UK Auctions: Tappit-hens and charity magnums News Wine News
  • Thursday 12 April 2001

Mysterious tappit-hen up for auction

Considering the amount of money involved, there is no precise definition of what a tappit-hen is. It's supposed to be a description, Scottish in origin, of anything from a bottle and a half to a three-bottle bottle or tregnum.

According to Christie's is selling a tappit-hen of Château Lafite from the great comet vintage of 1811, ranked historically with the great Opimian vintage of 121BC. It is safest to say that a tappit-hen corresponds to a magnum.

The squat, hand-blown dark glass bottle in question, re-corked at the château in June 1987 by cellermaster M.Revelle, goes under the hammer at Christie's sale on Thursday 8 June with an estimate of between £22,000 and £30,000 ($35,200 - $48,000).

Four Magnums and a Millennium first

A mere 49 lots in Christie's catalogue span the 179 years between 1811 and the year 2000, the vintage on three magnums that are being auctioned for charity. Genesis Chardonnay is the brainchild of the Australian viticultural pioneer Dr.Richard Smart, who selected a vineyard near Bourke in the Australian outback for his project - the first wine of the 21st century.

By the light of miner's helmets, chardonnay grapes were picked ripe on January 1st 2000 immediately following the stroke of midnight and vinified by Frank Newman in French oak at the Andre Harris winery in Mudgee. With an estimate of £200 ($320) each, the proceeds of sale of the first three magnums will go to the Busselton Medical Research Foundation, Wine Relief and the NSPCC. A fourth magnum will be sold in New York on 16th June and a fifth in Tokyo on 2nd November.

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