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Ancient Lafite magnum for sale

A 130-year-old magnum of Château Lafite is expected to fetch US$26,000 at Christie's in Los Angeles.

The 1870 magnum comes originally from the cellar of Glamis Castle in Scotland. It was first auctioned in 1971 by Michael Broadbent as part of a 41-magnum collection.

Christie’s have now put a US$22,000-26,000 (€23,195-27,410) estimate on the bottle, which was recorked, recapsuled and labelled by the château in 1986. The level of wine in the neck is good.

At the time Broadbent said it was ‘quite simply one of the greatest-ever clarets’, and he has stood by his judgement since.

Glamis Castle is home to the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne and was the childhood home of the Queen Mother. It also features in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The 13th Earl of Strathmore bought the magnums in 1878 but left them virtually untouched as he found the wine too astringent.

A second Lafite 1870 goes under the hammer at the auction. This is a bottle rather than a magnum and lacks the romantic provenance. It is expected to go for around US$6,000 (€6331).

Two other interesting lots from the same cellar are a bottle of 1892 and a bottle of 1897 Pinot Noir from Napa, California winery Inglenook (which was taken over by Francis Coppola in 1975), both with handwritten labels, estimated at US$1,000-1,500 per bottle.

Christie’s Fine and Rare Wines auction takes place in Los Angeles on June 21-22.

Written by Liz Hughes18 June 2002

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