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DRC, rare 1874 Champagne lift Christie’s to record auction total

Christie's said a single bottle of Perrier-Jouët Champagne from the lauded 1874 vintage has sold for more than £40,000, as the group reported its 'highest ever' sales total for a wine and spirits auction.

Christie’s said the bottle of Perrier-Jouët ‘Brut Millesimé’ from the ‘outstanding’ 1874 Champagne vintage sold for £42,875 ($56,981, €50,292), far outstripping its pre-sale high estimate of £15,000.

The winning bidder will also get a VIP experience at Perrier-Jouët.

It was part of a collection of rare vintages sourced directly from Maison Perrier-Jouët and 100% sold by Christie’s at a wider wine and spirits auction held in London on 2 and 3 December.

While the 1874 bottle’s appearance was dusty and unlabelled, the wine inside ‘has spent almost 150 years in ideal conditions’, said Tim Triptree MW, international director of Christie’s wine and spirits department, in an online article before the sale.

‘It will probably have lost most of its fizz, as the effervescence declines over time, but it should still retain a vibrant acidity and freshness,’ he added.

For Christie’s, the sale proved just one highlight in a record-breaking auction for the company.

Sales of wines and spirits over 2 and 3 December reached around £7.6m ($10.1m, €8.9m), marking the ‘highest ever total for a Christie’s wine auction globally’, said Noah May, head of Christie’s’ wine & spirits department.

‘The sale was a testament to the strength and sophistication of the market for fine wines and spirits, and the fantastic team work at Christie’s.’

Other highlights included three six-bottle lots of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s (DRC) famous Romanée-Conti 1990 vintage, which each fetched £208,250 – beating a pre-sale high estimate of £150,000 per lot.

Eleven bottles of the same wine’s 1971 vintage sold for £269,500, against a pre-sale high estimate of £180,000, underlining how blue-chip Burgundy labels have been particularly sought-after in the fine wine market this year.

One magnum of DRC’s La Tâche 1962 fetched £73,500, versus a pre-sale high estimate of £14,000.

Scotch whisky also made more headlines after a bottle of Springbank 1919 50 Year Old single malt sold for £183,750 – although this was below the pre-sale high estimate of £280,000.

Among the other Perrier-Jouët wines sourced direct from the Champagne house, three magnums of Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque 1979 sold for £8,575, against a pre-sale high estimate of £3,000.

There was more evidence of buyer interest in Champagne’s highly regarded 2002 vintage, with 12 bottles of Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs 2002 fetching £4,288, also beating a high estimate of £3,000.

News of the Christie’s auction came as Liv-ex reported a record-breaking year for the fine wine market, with prices on many leading labels rising in 2021.

Alongside the main Christie’s sale on 2 and 3 December, the group also hosted an auction of award-winning wines from the Decanter World Wine Awards, raising more than £72,000. Proceeds will go to a number of charities.


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