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Cambridge University’s King’s College earns £1.3m by auctioning off rare Burgundies

A collection of rare Burgundies from the cellars of King’s College, Cambridge, fetched £1,365,125 in a competitive Christie’s auction this week.

The ‘Generations of Jayer’ collection included 42 lots of some of the finest Burgundies ever bottled.

A 12-bottle case of Grand Cru Henri Jayer for Georges Jayer, Echézeaux 1999 from Côte de Nuits led the charge, selling for £100,000 at the London auction.

The second priciest lot was the Henri Jayer for Georges Jayer, Echézeaux 2001, which received a winning bid of £85,000.

Henri Jayer was dubbed the ‘godfather of Burgundy’ after pioneering a range of key innovations in the region. He believed that low yields were the foundation of truly great wines, and he fiercely resisted the extensive use of chemicals in vineyards.

Since his death in 2006, his silky Pinot Noirs have grown increasingly rare, creating a cult following among collectors and connoisseurs alike.

Christie’s international director of wine, Tim Triptree MW, once described his wines as ‘certainly among the finest I have ever tasted, particularly the Richebourg, Echézeaux and Cros Parantoux’.

King’s College, Cambridge, purchased the wines from UK importer Richards-Walfords and stored them within its historic cellars.

They finally went under the hammer this week, along with many more Burgundian classics. Further highlights included 12 bottles of Domaine Coche-Dury, Corton-Charlemagne 1996, which sold for £75,000, and 12 bottles of Domaine Coche-Dury, Corton-Charlemagne 2007, which achieved £50,000.

All lots from the ‘Generations of Jayer’ collection sold. The £1,365,125 from that collection contributed to a total of £2,734,363 achieved at the auction, which Christie’s titled: ‘Finest and Rarest Wines and Spirits: Featuring Generations of Jayer, Burgundy from the Historic Cellars of King’s College, Cambridge’.

Another highlight came from Royal Salute, the high-end Scotch whisky brand owned by Chivas Brothers. It released a commemorative whisky to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee.

The exclusive bottling blends whiskies aged 32 years or older from seven silent stills, each now lost to time. It was finished for more than two years in tawny port casks – a wine served during the Coronation Banquet in 1953.

The limited-edition release includes just 21 sets of seven hand-crafted Dartington Crystal decanters, with packaging inspired by Her Majesty’s ‘vibrant pastel garments and iconic brooch collection’.

A lot featuring one of the sets sold for £175,000 in the auction. Each of the seven decanters is named after one of Her Majesty’s brooches.

Photo credits: Chris Boland

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