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Haut-Brion to hold first ex-cellar auction in Asia

Domaine Clarence Dillon, owner of Chateaux Haut-Brion, La Mission Haut-Brion and Quintus, is to auction over 500 lots of ex-chateau wine from vintages spanning 1891 to 2012.

The sale will take place as part of Sotheby’s Autumn Sale in October 2013, and is expected to fetch an upper estimate of HK$14m (US$1.8m).

Bottles will be offered in various formats, and will include a vertical of Chateau Haut-Brion Blanc from 1993 to 2012.

The last auction held by Domaine Clarence Dillon was in New York in 2004. The location of the new sale reflects the shift of many serious private collectors from the United States to Asia.

The sale will launch the 2014 celebrations marking 80 years since the first visit of American financier Clarence Dillon to Haut-Brion in 1934, before he purchased the property in May 1935.

Prince Robert of Luxembourg, chairman and CEO of Domaine Clarence Dillon, said, ‘2014 also marks 30 years of my family’s stewardship at La Mission Haut-Brion, as well as the bottling of our first physical vintage of Chateau Quintus.’

As a further event to mark the occasion, the company is launching an ‘Historical Challenge’ to discover the earliest written (and authenticated) mention of Haut-Brion.

To date, the first written mention of the estate was in Charles II’s cellar book dated 1660. It was discovered by Professor Charles Ludington at North Carolina State University, while working on his thesis on the 17th century English wine market.

The competition will run until September 2014. The prize is €37,500 of wine, including two cases of Haut-Brion 1989, one case each of La Mission Haut-Brion 2011 and Haut-Brion 2011, and one case of Quintus 2011.

‘Our estates and wines are true witnesses of history,’ Prince Robert told Decanter.com. ‘Haut-Brion is the cradle of Bordeaux wine, and the birthplace of the New French Claret style of wine that we still enjoy today. We feel privileged to be associated with this extraordinary heritage, and through the historical challenge hope to deepen our knowledge of this monument of a wine.’

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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