Despite the horrors of 11 September and a looming recession, not all was gloomy in the wine auction world. In fact many expectations were exceeded.

Sotheby’s took the lead in worldwide wine auctions with sales of £25.4 million (€41m), an increase of 32% over 2000, with Christie’s not far behind on 23.3m (€37.5).

Among the year’s highs in London, a single bottle of 1775 sherry fetched a remarkable £31,900 (€51,359), while in Manhattan, seven bottles of 1978 Le Montrachet brought in an impressive £118,190 (€190,286). The following top ten lot prices in the US and UK were obtained through the major auction houses, Christie’s and Sotheby’s in 2001 (including buyer’s premium):

New York

1. Sotheby’s (December), 7 bottles of 1978 Le Montrachet, DRC: £118,190 (€190,286)

2. Sotheby’s (December), 12 bottles of 1961 Latour à Pomerol: £63,080 (€101,559)

3. Sotheby’s (December), 11 bottles of 1961 Latour à Pomerol: £59,980 (€96,568)

4. Christie’s (November), 6 magnums of 1945 Château Mouton-Rothschild: £44,858 (€72,221)

5. Christie’s (November), 6 magnums of 1947 Château Cheval Blanc: £36,702 (€59,090)

6. Christie’s (February), 1 methusaleh of 1985 Romanée-Conti, DRC: £35,690 (€57,461)

7. Christie’s (February), 1 methuselah 1990 Romanée-Conti, DRC: £35,690 (€57,461)

8. Sotheby’s (December), 12 bottles 1961 Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle: £34,490 (€55,529).

9. Sotheby’s (December), 12 bottles 1961 Petrus: £34,050 (€54,821)

10. Christie’s (February), 1 methusaleh 1990 Romanée-Conti, DRC: £31,720 (€51,069)

London

1. Christie’s (October), 12 bottles of 1921 Château d’Yquem: £44,000 (€70,840)

2. Sotheby’s (October), 1 bottle 1775 Sherry XX, Massandra Collection: £31,900 (€51,359)

3. Sotheby’s (November), 12 bottles 1992 Corton Charlemagne, Coche-Dury: £30,800 (€49,588)

4. Christie’s (July), 1 double-magnum Château Lafite-Rothschild 1865: £27,500 (€44,275)

5. Sotheby’s (September), 12 bottles 1945 Château Mouton-Rothschild: £24,840 (€39,992)

6. Sotheby’s (November), 12 bottles 1990 Corton Charlemagne, Coche-Dury: £25,700 (€41,377)

7. Christie’s (February), 4 magnums 1971 Romanée-Conti, DRC: £20,350 (€32,764)

8. Christie’s (November), 1 jeroboam 1990 Romanée-Conti, DRC, £19,800 (€31,878)

9. Christie’s (November), 1 jeroboam 1966 Romanée-Conti, DRC: £17,600 (€28,336)

10. Sotheby’s (June), 6 magnums 1961 Château Latour: £17,600 (€28,336)

Written by Anthony Rose in London7 January 2002