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Mature Burgundy fuels Hong Kong wine auctions

Asian buyers have continued to snap up top rated mature Burgundy in a succession of recent Hong Kong auctions, but sales also suggest collectors are searching for a greater diversity of wines.

More than half the lots in Sotheby’s sale of Finest and Rarest Wines Featuring Burgundy Direct from Maison Camille Giroud went for sums above their high estimate on 23 May, with the auction 94.6% sold by lot and 96.6% by value.

Meanwhile, Christie’s sale of Fine and Rare Wines Featuring Esteemed Connoisseur Mr Yap Chee Meng’s Private Collection, held last weekend, was 90% sold by lot and 92% by value.

The past week has been something of a pitched battle between the world’s major wine auction houses in Hong Kong.

Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC) continued to dominate the highest-priced lots at the Christie’s auction – a seven-bottle collection from the 2005 vintage fetched HK$269,500, well above its HK$220,000 high estimate.

But there were signs of other regions grabbing a share of the limelight: six bottles of E Guigal Côte Rôtie La Mouline 1978 went for HK$232,750, versus its high estimate of HK$180,000.

Simon Tam, head of Christie’s China wine department, said bidders were being increasingly lured by ex-cellar lots of Guigal’s Rhône wines and Chablis from Domaine Laroche.

‘Collectors were especially keen to acquire vintages aged and ready for drinking and enjoyment,’ he added.

‘As wine aficionados in Asia mature their taste palates, buying has also expanded beyond traditional reds to other classic regions [such as] the Loire Valley and beyond.’

Although Château Le Pin 1990 was the top-grossing lot at the Sotheby’s sale, highlights also included rare Musigny and Charmes Chambertin from Camille Giroud.

Robert Sleigh, head of Sotheby’s Wine, Asia, said top quality mature Burgundy continued to be the ‘most desirable’ sector of the market.

Written by Richard Woodard

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