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Rare Lynch-Bages auction with ‘mythical’ 1961 is 100% sold

Buyers have swooped on a Sotheby’s auction of Château Lynch-Bages wines sourced from the Bordeaux estate’s cellars, featuring the vaunted 1961 vintage, large-format bottles and a 2020 vintage lot including dinner with the owners.

Strong demand for Château Lynch-Bages wines from collectors in Europe, US and Asia helped ensure all 342 lots in the London-based auction were sold, said Sotheby’s.

Total sales at the 25 March event hit £877,826 ($1.16m), eclipsing a pre-sale high estimate of just under £700,000.

It’s another sign of a strong auction market, and of Lynch-Bages’ popularity; this Pauillac-based Bordeaux estate owned by the Cazes family has long been known for punching above its fifth growth status in the 1855 Classification.

‘Their ardent admirers were out in force,’ said George Lacey, head of UK auction sales at Sotheby’s Wine.

Ex-château stock is generally seen as the gold standard in terms of fine wine provenance.

New winery at Château Lynch-Bages

The new winery at Château Lynch-Bages. Photo credit: Gabriel Guibert / Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Lynch-Bages auction highlights

Top lot was a barrel of Lynch-Bages 2020, to be bottled with personalised labels in a format of the buyer’s choice, plus a tour of the new winery and dinner with the Cazes family. It fetched £43,750 ($57,690), versus a pre-sale high estimate of £35,000.

The auction was also pitched as a celebration of Lynch-Bages’ new winery, designed by Chien Chung (Didi) Pei. It was finished in time for the 2020 harvest.

Among older wines, two lots each featuring a single 75cl bottle of Lynch-Bages 1961 fetched £2,375 and £2,250 respectively (pre-sale high e: £800).

Serena Sutcliffe MW, honorary chair of Sotheby’s Wine, described 1961 as a ‘mythical vintage’ in Pauillac.

‘It’s incredible how good this still is,’ wrote Jane Anson of Lynch-Bages 1961 after tasting it for Decanter in 2017. ‘It equals many of the best 1945s that I’ve tasted, giving Latour a run for its money at a fraction of the price.’

There were particularly strong performances from top vintages of mature wines in large-format bottles. These included:

  • A 15-litre ‘nebuchadnezzar’ of Lynch-Bages 2000 fetched £13,750 (pre-sale high e: £6,000)
  • A six-litre ‘imperial’ of the 2000 vintage sold for £6,000 (pre-sale high e: £2,400)
  • Three double magnums of Lynch-Bages 1990, recorked in 2008, fetched £7,500 (pre-sale high e: £4,800)
  • Three double magnums of Lynch-Bages 1982 fetched £8,125 (pre-sale high e: £4,500). Two further lots fetched £7,500 each.

The oldest wine in the auction, a bottle of Lynch-Bages 1936, sold for £1,625, far surpassing its pre-sale high estimate of £450.

Of more recent vintages, 12 bottles of Lynch-Bages 2019 – recently rated 97 points in-bottle by Decanter – fetched £1,125 (£1,100).

Jean-Charles Cazes, Lynch-Bages director and general manager, said, ‘It means so much to us, to see such enthusiasm for Lynch-Bages and all of our estates, from so many collectors all over the world.’

Several lots from some of the family’s other estates featured in the sale. Among the highlights, a 15-litre nebuchadnezzar of Château Ormes de Pez 2009 from the St-Estèphe appellation fetched £1,500 (pre-sale high e: £600).

A lot containing three six-litre ‘imperials’ of Château Haut-Batailley 2017, 2018 and 2019 – reflecting the years of Cazes ownership – sold for £1,375 (pre-sale high e: £1,100).

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