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Rare Haut-Brion helps Prince Robert of Luxembourg cellar auction ‘smash’ estimate

Château Haut-Brion 1926 was among the highlights as a charity auction including the Prince's personal cellar reached total sales of $6.2m (£4.9m), Sotheby's has announced.

All 818 lots were sold in the auction, which saw Prince Robert of Luxembourg, chairman and CEO of Château Haut-Brion owner Domaine Clarence Dillon, open up his personal cellar to raise funds for the PolG Foundation.

Featuring 4,200 bottles and covering Bordeaux wine royalty spanning more than a century of vintages, Sotheby’s said the auction ‘smashed’ its pre-sale high estimate of around $4m. 

Two 4.5-litre Jeroboams of Haut-Brion, one from the 1926 vintage and the other from 1924, fetched $87,500 and $62,500 respectively. Both had a pre-sale high estimate of $12,000.

Wines were also donated by the Prince’s friends and family, including other wineries.

A six-litre Imperial of Petrus 2009, sourced from the Pomerol estate’s cellars, sold for $75,000 (pre-sale high e: $35,000), while an Imperial of Petrus 2010 fetched the same price (pre-sale high e: $30,000).

Prince Robert and his wife, Princess Julie, created the PolG Foundation alongside other family members after their youngest son, Frederik de Nassau, was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease in 2016. It exists to support medical research into PolG-related illnesses. 

Prince Robert of Luxembourg said, ‘On behalf of all of the Mitochondrial disease community, my family and The PolG Foundation, I want to thank all of the bidders for providing us with a glass that is not only half full but now brimming over with hope and opportunity. I have an empty cellar, but a very full heart.’

Bidding was strong an ‘Haute Couture’ case of wine donated by the Premium Familiae Vini group of family winery owners sold for $237,500 (pre-sale high e: $150,000).

PFV haut couture wine case sotheby's

The PFV Haute Couture case. Photo credit: Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

It featured 12 bottles, one from each member of the invitation-only group and representing a treasure chest for wine lovers – including Graham’s Vintage Port 1963, Mouton Rothschild 1988, Vega Sicilia Unico 1964, Joseph Drouhin Bonne Mares 1990, Tignanello 1982 and Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill 1988, among others.

The buyer also gets a passport to visit all 12 wineries with up to three guests, and enjoy lunch or dinner there with a family member.

haut-brion sotheby's auction

Twelve-litre bottles of Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion red and white wines from 2009. Photo credit: Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Among the other highlights, four ‘exceptionally rare’ 12-litre Balthazar bottles, including Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion red and white wines from the 2009 vintage, sold for $87,500 (pre-sale high e: $80,000).

Haut-Brion’s lauded 1989 vintage was also among the lots in particularly high demand. Two lots each featuring a 12-bottle case of Haut-Brion ‘89 fetched $43,750 and $37,500 respectively, both far outpacing a pre-sale high estimate of $17,000 per lot.

Cognac from the 19th century also starred in the sale. A bottle of Bisquit Dubouché Cognac Grande Fine Champagne 1811 sold for $8,750 (pre-sale high e: $5,500).

Jamie Ritchie, worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s wine, said, ‘The phenomenal results of this exceptional sale is recognition of the reputation and incomparable provenance of the genuinely rare wines that were donated, combined with the importance of the medical research being undertaken by The PolG Foundation.’

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