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Champagne auction: Sotheby’s to sell ‘a century of Bollinger’

Sotheby’s is to hold a rare auction of historic Bollinger Champagne, direct from the house cellars, in New York this November and including a recently-discovered bottle of the 1914 vintage.

Sotheby’s will auction ‘a century of Bollinger‘ direct from the Champagne house’s cellars, it announced this week.

It said the sale will take place in New York on 19 November. It is being dubbed as the first of its kind for Bollinger.

Such a large amount of Champagne leading an auction is certainly rare.

The sale is part of a general rise in ‘direct-from-the-cellar’ auctions.

It also reflects growing interest in Champagne among fine wine collectors and investors in recent years.

Perhaps the most eye-catching lot in the Sotheby’s auction is The Bollinger 1914 Experience, covering a bottle of Bollinger 1914 recently found in a disused gallery cellar under the village of Aÿ, plus a visit for four people to Galerie 1829 at Bollinger.

The visit includes vineyard and winery visits, dinner at two-star Michelin restaurant Le Parc – Les Crayères hosted by Bollinger president Jérôme Philipon, and accommodation at Le Château – Les Crayères in Reims.

The auction also includes six lots of the Bollinger’s sought-after Vieilles Vignes Françaises bottling, sourced from ungrafted vines, and 35 lots of RD spanning four decades.

The six Vieilles Vignes Françaises lots include a bottle of the 1988 vintage, estimated to be worth up to US$1,800, and bottles from five further vintages: 1992, 1996, 1997, 2000 and 2002.

The RD lots include three bottles from the 1973 vintage, with a high estimate of US$2,200 and a jeroboam from 1979, worth up to $3,200.

Jamie Ritchie, worldwide head of Sotheby’s Wine, said he was ‘thrilled’ to be able to offer wines direct from Bollinger’s cellars. He said the auction would provide collectors with the chance to buy ‘irreplaceable bottles and exclusive experiences’.

Rare Champagne has become increasingly sought-after by collectors at auction in recent years, with prices rising for wines such as Dom Pérignon, Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Françaises, and Krug vintages and Clos du Mesnil bottlings.

David Thomas, UK and European sales director BI wines and spirits, told Decanter.com, ‘Over the last 10 years, clients have clearly diversified their wine investment strategy beyond Bordeaux. And for much of that time, we have encouraged our customers to include top Prestige Cuvee Champagnes within their portfolios.’

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