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Bordeaux 1982 vintage retains star power in auction room

Bordeaux’s famous class of 1982 has been a highlight of auction room activity in recent weeks, demonstrating its ongoing allure to collectors more than 40 years on from the harvest.

Château Lafleur 1982 was a top performer among several wines from the famous Bordeaux 1982 vintage recently offered by UK auction house Dreweatts from a single owner’s Oxfordshire cellar.

Two 12-bottle lots of Lafleur 1982 in original wooden cases (OWC) each fetched a hammer price of £56,000, and an aggregate price of £69,440 (including buyer’s premium plus VAT). The pre-sale high estimate was £24,000 per lot.

The sale came as Decanter magazine revisited Bordeaux’s landmark 1982 vintage with a rare tasting in its October 2023 issue.

Caroline Shepherd, senior specialist in wine and spirits at Dreweatts, told Decanter full cases of Bordeaux 1982 First Growths and top Right Bank châteaux still command strong bidding interest at auction.

Other top Bordeaux wines from key 20th century vintages also performed well. Alongside Lafleur 1982, Shepherd highlighted strong competition for Petrus 1959 (9x75cl, hammer price: £22,000) and Mouton Rothschild 1961 (12x75cl, OWC, hammer: £10,000).

‘The sale attracted bidders from the UK and Europe, the USA and Asia, underlining the demand for top Bordeaux in mature vintages from immaculate cellar conditions,’ Shepherd added.

Among other lots, 12 bottles of Château Lafite Rothschild 1982 (OWC) fetched an aggregate price of £27,280 and a hammer price of £22,000, above the pre-sale high estimate of £18,000.

One 12-bottle lot of Mouton Rothschild 1982 (OWC) in the Dreweatts sale fetched a hammer price of £10,000, and aggregate of £12,400 (pre-sale high e: £10,000).

However, hammer prices for two 12-bottle lots of Petrus 1982 – both with US import labels – were slightly below the pre-sale estimate range, even though they still fetched aggregate prices of £31,000 and £27,280. Auction prices can vary for several reasons, including factors affecting the condition of specific bottles.

A recent Sotheby’s sale in New York also featured several large-format Bordeaux 1982 wines.

Among them, two six-litre Imperials of Château Latour ’82 each sold for $20,000, including buyer’s premium (high estimate: $20,000), and an Imperial of Château Figeac 1982 sold for $9,375, including buyer’s premium (high e: $5,500).

Meanwhile, a six-litre ‘Imperial’ bottle of Petrus 1982 is one of the headline lots in a major upcoming auction at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong next month, featuring wines from the cellar of collector Pierre Chen.

The Petrus ’82 Imperial carried an estimate of US$45,000 to $65,000 (£37,000 – £54,000).

Nick Pegna, global head of wine and spirits at Sotheby’s, told Decanter the Petrus 1982 Imperial was ‘incredibly rare’. He was previously an agent for Petrus, and said it was almost impossible to get Imperials from the Pomerol estate. ‘Only by exception would they [bottle one].’

Whilst Bordeaux 1982 wines are still actively-traded on the market, Matthew O’Connell, CEO of the LiveTrade trading platform at UK-based merchant Bordeaux Index, said pristine cases have become rarer in recent years – likely the result of more bottles being uncorked.

Commenting in Decanter magazine’s latest issue, he said the wines were still highly sought-after, despite being relatively expensive. ‘I think they rightly sit in the bucket of “must try” wines for collectors.’


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