Bidders doubled Zachys’ pre-sale estimate in their attempts to land one of the 691 Lafite Rothschild auction lots, which were all sold and fetched nearly US$7.9m at the 30 March event at New York’s Le Bernardin Privé.
It is believed to be the biggest collection of Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) wines put up for auction direct from the first growth Château’s cellars.
The single, 75cl bottle of 1868 vintage wine, representing the year that the Rothschild family purchased Lafite, sold for $123,500 versus a pre-sale high estimate of $20,000. The wine was in its original wooden case and dinner at Lafite was included in the deal.
Zachys said the wine was still ‘vivid’. It said 1868 was a year of contrasts for Bordeaux weather, with heat from May to July, rain in August and then intense heat that ran right through harvest.
Baron James de Rothschild became the official owner of Lafite in August 1868, receiving the deeds from Nicolas Pierre de Prichard, according to Decanter’s Jane Anson, who last year reported on a landmark tasting of Lafite wines spanning 150 years.
At the Zachys auction, a magnum of the 1869 achieved the same price as the 1868, which was only surpassed by an ‘imperial’ bottle of Lafite 1959, a lauded 20th century vintage, which sold for $160,500, said the auction house.
A single bottle of Lafite 1898 sold for $86,450, while a double magnum of the 1959 sold for $92,625.
‘Working with Lafite these past few months has been a highlight of my career,’ said Jeff Zacharia, president of Zachys Wine Auctions.
‘I couldn’t be happier with the results,’ he said.
Fifty-six percent of the lots sold to American buyers, said Zachys. Winning bidders were from a total of 14 different countries, it said.