Competition 'intense' for UK government cellar wines
- Friday 22 March 2013
Bidders vied for the opportunity to pick some of the 20th Century's most celebrated wines at the sale, held by Christie's as part of a larger auction in London this week.
'The much anticipated collection of Bordeaux from the Government Hospitality Fund Cellar sparked intense competition and was sold 100%, realising £74,406,' said David Elswood, Christie's' international director of wine in Europe and Asia.
Ministers have ruled that the cellar, situated under Lancaster House near Buckingham Palace, must be self-financing for the remainder of the present Parliament, set to run until 2015. The cellar holds 38,000 bottles and has a value of close to £3m.
Among the highlights of this week's auction, an anonymous Asian buyer outbidded rivals to take a six-bottle haul of the cellar's Chateau Latour 1961 for around £28,000, albeit slightly below Christie's' top estimate of £30,000.
When Decanter magazine paid a rare visit to the Government cellar for a feature in its April edition, Robert Alexander OBE, head of Government Hospitality, said stocks of Latour '61 'make up a significant proportion of the overall value of the cellar'.
Other highlights of the government cellar auction included six bottles of Petrus 1970, which sold for £10,530, versus a high estimate of £6,000.
A 12-bottle lot of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1986 fetched £9,360, also beating a top, pre-auction estimate of £6,000.
Altogether, the whole Christie's fine and rare wines auction was 86% sold by lot and 94% sold by value, generating £806,498 in sales.