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Burgundy wine auction breaks eight world records

A high-profile wine auction in Beaune shattered multiple world records en route to achieving total sales of €2m (£1.7m) this week.

The Sotheby’s auction was devoted exclusively to Burgundy sourced from the legendary cellar of Taiwanese entrepreneur Pierre Chen.

Bidders converged upon Couvent des Cordeliers in the heart of Beaune for Tuesday’s event, while buyers from 29 countries also participated online.

The top lot featured six bottles of Chevalier Montrachet d’Auvenay 2009, which fetched €106,250 (£89,915).

Meanwhile, 12 bottles of Domaine Armand Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Bèze 1990 sold for €100,000 (£84,630), beating the upper estimate by 67%.

Twelve bottles of La Tâche 1990 had an estimated price of €30,000 to €40,000, but the lot ended up selling for €81,250.

The auction also set eight new world records:

  • Three bottles of 2005 DRC Échezeaux fetched €10,000 per bottle, more than double the previous world record.
  • Three bottles of 2007 DRC Montrachet sold for more than €15,800 per bottle, which is 50% higher than the previous world record.
  • A magnum of 2005 DRC La Tâche set a new record at €35,000.
  • Three bottles of 2014 DRC La Tâche sold for more than €9,100 per bottle.
  • Twelve bottles of 1990 Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Bèze sold for €8,300 per bottle.
  • Twelve bottles of 2009 Rousseau Chambertin fetched more than €5,700 per bottle.
  • Six bottles of 2010 Rousseau Gevrey Chambertin Clos St Jacques sold for €3,900 per bottle.
  • Three bottles of 2011 Domaine Leroy Chambertin fetched more than €16,600 per bottle.

George Lacey, head of Sotheby’s wine division in Asia, said: ‘It was incredibly special for us to see a number of new world record prices being set in the Beaune saleroom at the 13th century Caves du Couvent des Cordeliers.

‘The strong activity we saw across all channels in the Live In The Vines auction in Beaune, including a full room with spirited in-person bidding, is testament to the outstanding quality of Pierre Chen’s wines, which drew competition from savvy wine collectors worldwide.’

Sotheby’s expects to fetch a record $50m (£39.2m) by auctioning off Chen’s ‘mythical’ wine collection.

The auction house described it as ‘the largest, most important and by far the most valuable wine collection ever to come to the market’. The collection features approximately 25,000 wines, which Chen accumulated over a 40-year period. The highlights include two six-litre methuselahs of DRC La Tâche 1985, a six-litre imperial of Petrus 1982 and a magnum of Château Latour 1961.

The sale, known as The Epicurean’s Atlas, has been divided into several different auctions, held in Hong Kong, Beaune and New York.

On 20 June, Chen’s collection of fine and rare Champagne achieved total sales of €1.35m (£1.14m) at Sotheby’s in Paris.

Three magnums of Salon Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs 1990 sold for €25,000 (£19,600) at the auction.

Meanwhile, a single magnum of Dom Pérignon P3 1966 fetched €23,750 (£20,100), which was more than double the previous world record. Sotheby’s claimed three additional world records for Champagne at that auction.

Chen founded Yageo Corporation, which produces electronic components for mobile phones, computers and cars. He is ranked 498 th in the 2024 Forbes Billionaires list, with an estimated fortune of $6.2 billion (£4.86 billion).

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