A jeroboam of Château Climens 1921, regarded as one of the best Sauternes and Barsac vintages of the 20th century, has sold for double its estimated value at the Paris auction of Yves Saint Laurent co-founder Pierre Bergé.


Retired Decanter columnist Michael Broadbent described 1921 as ‘unquestionably the greatest Sauternes vintage of the 20th Century’ in his Pocket Vintage Wine Companion.

And bidders appeared to agree at a Paris auction of the private cellar of Pierre Bergé, Yves Saint Laurent co-founder.

Unexpectedly to some, a jeroboam of Barsac-based Château Climens 1921 sold for €9,390, after being valued at up to €4,000 prior to the auction.

It meant the Climens lot beat a bottle of  Heidsieck Monopole Champagne 1907, rescued from a shipwreck and which sold for €6,010 – in-line with its pre-sale high estimate.

‘1921, 1928 and 1929 were three exceptional vintages for Climens, during an outstanding period for the estate,’ said Bernard Burtschy, French wine critic and judge at the Decanter World Wine Awards.

‘Thanks to its calcareous soils, Climens possesses a freshness and brightness in hot vintages, and the 1921 is absolutely splendid today,’ he told Decanter.com.

Other auction highlights

Burgundy’s Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC) commanded strong prices, as expected. Ten bottles of DRC Grands Echézeaux 1990 fetched €16,276 on a pre-sale high estimate of €12,000. And five bottles of DRC Grands Echézeaux 1979 sold for €6,260 versus a high estimate of €4,000.

Bordeaux was also well represented in Bergé’s cellar.

Twelve bottles of Haut-Brion 1959, expected to reach up to €12,000, sold for €20,032, and 12 bottles of La Mission Haut-Brion 1959, which were expected to reach €22,000, fetched €24,414.

However, Château Ausone 1937 and 1959, and a further double-magnum of Haut-Brion 1959, did not sell.

The auction of Pierre Bergé’s private cellar helped the Pierre Bergé Foundation to earn €624,346.

Extra reporting and editing by Chris Mercer

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