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Mouton 45 shatters world record, twice

Two cases of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1945 smashed the same world record twice in Los Angeles last week.

At Christie’s inaugural evening sale auction in Beverly Hills last Thursday, a US$290,000 (£153,589) bid for a 12-bottle case of Mouton ’45 broke the record for the most expensive case of wine ever sold.

The record was previously held by a six-magnum case of 1985 Romanée-Conti bought for $170,375 (£90,231) in March 2006. The case of Mouton was sold to an anonymous telephone bidder.

However, the following lot – a six-magnum case of ’45 Mouton – broke the record set only minutes previously. Again, the case was sold to an anonymous bidder, this time for $345,000 (£182,700), or $57,500 (£30,450) per magnum.

The 1945 Mouton-Rothschild was voted the number one of 100 ‘wines to try before you die’ in Decanter magazine in 2004.

Decanter columnist and veteran taster Michael Broadbent described the wine as ‘without doubt the greatest claret of the twentieth century’.

It important to stress that this would not be a broken record in the strictest sense. Although the second case of Mouton contained exactly the same amount of wine as the first, from the same vintage, it could be argued it was not the same wine because wine in magnums ages differently to wine in 75cl bottles.

As Decanter’s New York correspondent Howard Goldberg points out, ‘In great vintages the market often prefers magnums of Chateau X to 75cl bottles of Chateau X. That’s why auction houses may list different high and low estimates for same-vintage magnums and 75cl bottles from Chateau X.’

Written by Panos Kakaviatos

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