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Masseto wines fetch high prices in rare auction

All 46 lots sourced direct from the SuperTuscan winery’s cellars have found buyers and a 15-litre ‘nebuchadnezzar’ bottle set a new record for Masseto at auction, Sotheby’s has announced.

It’s the first time that Masseto has released wines for auction directly from its ‘Caveau’, lying deep beneath the SuperTuscan winery’s vines, and strong bidding emphasised the allure of this Merlot label that is sometimes described as Italy’s answer to Petrus.

Each of the 46 lots surpassed pre-sale high estimates, according to Sotheby’s, which hosted the online auction from 12 to 27 April.

Top lot was a 15-litre ‘nebuchadnezzar’ of Masseto 2010, one of 20 produced and which also came with a winery visit, lunch and tasting for up to six guests.

It sold for €56,250 (£49,674, $61,800), including buyer’s premium, far above the pre-sale high estimate of €18,000 to €26,000.

This sets a new record for any bottle of Masseto sold at auction, according to Sotheby’s.

Large-format bottles were prominent among the best-selling lots in the auction. A six-litre ‘imperial’ of Masseto 2001, with private winery visit tasting for four guests, sold for €15,000 (high estimate: €11,000).

‘In 2022, once again, is this the greatest Masseto ever?’ wrote Serena Sutcliffe MW, honorary chair of Sotheby’s Wine, in a tasting note for the 2001 vintage.

Two lots, each featuring a six-litre imperial bottle of Masseto 2010, sold for €13,750 and €12,500 respectively (high estimate per lot: €10,000), while an imperial of Masseto 2016 sold for €15,000 (high e: €8,000).

Total sales in the auction hit €376,625, Sotheby’s said.

It added, ‘As the lots began to close, a flurry of bids resulted in a final total far beyond a pre-sale estimate in the region of €200.000, with collectors across Europe, the Americas and Asia competing to purchase one or more of the extremely limited number of 132 bottles on offer in varying formats.’

Amayès Aouli, Sotheby’s head of wine, Europe, added, ‘These standout results, not least the record price for the nebuchadnezzar, are testament to the quality of the wine produced by Masseto and the unprecedented opportunity to acquire bottles directly from the Masseto Caveau.’

Masseto CEO Giovanni Geddes said, ‘We are truly proud of the results that went beyond our expectations. We would like to thank all wine collectors and buyers for their enthusiasm showed towards our wines. This is the best recognition Masseto can receive.’

Provenance can be a key factor in determining prices for fine wines at auction.

Among several measures to emphasis ‘watertight provenance’, Masseto said all the bottles from the Caveau will be presented in handcrafted oak cases, which are numbered and contain a certificate of origin signed by Axel Heinz, estate director.

Each bottle also carries a ‘Prooftag’, attesting to the wine’s authenticity.

A hardcore group of top SuperTuscan wines have been garnering more of the spotlight on the fine wine secondary market in recent years, as previously reported by Decanter.

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