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Mouton’s private cellar makes $2m

Baroness Philippine de Rothschild’s private cellar – dating back to the end of the 19th century – hit the jackpot last night at a New York auction.

At Aulden Cellars/Sotheby’s, treasures from Château Mouton Rothschild fetched US$2,223,417.

All 206 lots offered were sold, 99% of them beyond their high estimates.

A 1945 Jeroboam fetched US$310,700, double its high estimate, while a 2000 Nebuchadnezzar fetched US$119,500.

Six magnums of 1982 brought US$62,737. Two one-magnum lots of 1947 fetched US$47,800 each.

The cellar included bottles from neighboring chateaux, too, and three bottles of 1945 Château Haut-Brion went for US$41,825 – more than double the high estimate.

A Nebuchadnezzar of 1983 Mouton fetched US$38,837; a magnum of 1949, also US$38,837; a Nebuchadnezzar of 1981 (with a high estimate of US$4,000) fetched US$31,070; and a 1963 magnum, US$28,680.

The auction’s lowest price was US$1,315, for three bottles of 1970 Haut-Brion (estimated at US$400).

The sale spanned Moutons from 1887 through 2005. One bottle of the 1887 went for US$7,170. A bottle of 1889 hammered home at US$6,573.

The program’s single oldest bottle, an 1868 Château Margaux (recorked at Mouton in 1992), fetched US$6,274.

Baroness Philippine, who visited New York both for the auction and to open an exhibition of Mouton’s artist labels at Sotheby’s, said, ‘This wine has never left my cellar. It is perfect and pristine.’

At a preview of the exhibition of labels, which is open to the public through March 10, the Baroness and Serena Sutcliffe MW, head of Sotheby’s International Wine Department, jointly unveiled the label for the 2004, a watercolor by the Prince of Wales inspired by a French landscape. It carries an adjacent note: ‘To celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Entente Cordiale – Charles, 2004’.

‘I’m fond of Prince Charles, as far as I can be for someone I don’t know well,’ the Baroness said. ‘I wouldn’t have wanted a painting from someone I didn’t like.’

He doesn’t get paid for the artwork, but he does get a consignment of Mouton.

Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York

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