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Sotheby’s first wine and spirits auction in Switzerland hits £500,000

Large-format bottles of France’s most famous wine topped the bill in Geneva, Switzerland, with vintages dating back to the 1970s in high demand.

Magnums of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC) from the 1970s were the stars of the show at Sotheby’s inaugural wine and spirits auction in Geneva.

DRC dominated the sales board, with eight of the ten highest-selling lots coming from the Côte de Nuits estate, the most famous in Burgundy and – arguably – on the planet.


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A trio of magnums of 1971 La Tâche topped the bill, selling for 125,000 Swiss francs (£110,000), more than double the lower end of the lot’s pre-sale estimate.

Six magnums of 1976 La Tâche fetched CHF37,500, midway through their estimate of CHF32,000-42,000.

Three individual magnums of 1971 La Tâche sold for CHF32,500, CHF27,500 and CHF18,750.

La Tâche’s was joined on the leaderboard by DRC-stablemate Richebourg, with a bottle from 1947 going under the hammer for CHF17,500, smashing through its upper estimate of CHF13,000.

The total sales price reached CHF573,500 (£504,000), with 91% of the lots selling.

Buyers from 14 countries took part in the auction, spread across Asia, Europe and North America.

Frédéric Guyot du Repaire, Sotheby’s deputy head of wine for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said: ‘Most of the wine lots, particularly the mature Bordeaux and rare Burgundy, fetched prices two to three times above their low estimates, underscoring the strong interest of international collectors for such rare wines.

‘This outcome highlights the scarcity and desirability of these collectible wines and legendary vintages.’

DRC’s dominance was broken only by fellow Burgundian stalwart Domaine Armand Rousseau, with a lot consisting of two bottles of 1959 Chambertin fetching CHF20,000, double the lower end of its estimate.

The highest-selling spirit was Baccarat decanter number 124 of Hennessy’s H8 Cognac, one of 250 filled to mark the retirement of master blender Yann Fillioux and the appointment of his successor, Renaud Fillioux de Gironde, with the baton passing from the seventh to the eighth generation of their family.

The elaborate, eight-ring decanter – which sold for CHF37,500, midway through its pre-sale estimate – was inscribed for ‘Arthur’s’, the Geneva-based bar and restaurant operator and drinks wholesaler.

Large-format DRC also features heavily in Massachusetts-based Bonhams Skinner’s ‘Iconic Wines from Passionate Collectors’ online auction, which closes on 17 June.

Three imperials and one magnum are due to go under the hammer, including an imperial of 1971 La Tâche valued at between $150,000 and $200,000, and a 1971 magnum from DRC’s Romanée Conti vineyard estimated at $40,000 to $50,000.

They’re joined by imperials of 1994 La Tâche, estimated at $20,000 to $26,000, and 1994 Richebourg, valued at $14,000 to $18,000.

Bonhams’ online auction also includes bottles of 2003 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon and 1993 Henri Jayer Echezeaux, both from the collection of American wine critic Josh Raynolds, who died last year [2023].


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