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Star-studded charity auction raises €57000

Florence's 17th-century Teatro della Pergola was the venue last week for Italian auction house Casa d'Aste Pandolfini's second annual charity auction.

The glittering event, which was attended by international celebrities and members of the Tuscan aristocracy, as well as wine enthusiasts and producers, raised €57,000 (US$52,285) for the Maggio Musicale concert festival.

The majority of the 115 lots were Supertuscan wines, with a few bottles of top-flight Bordeaux making up the balance.

The French wines included a double magnum of Mouton-Rothschild 1990, donated by Baronne Philippine de Rothschild, which fetched €2,200 (US$2,015); and a bottle of Ausone, knocked down at €900 (US$825).

Among the successful bidders was Sharon Stone, star of Basic Instinct and Casino, who paid out €2,400 (US$2,200) for a double magnum of Arnaldo Caprai’s Sagrantino di Montefalco ’25 Anni’ 1998. The bottle had been donated to the auction by fashion designer Roberto Cavalli, who personally ‘dressed’ the bottle and its box.

Another star bidder was Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, whose purchases included a double magnum of Tenuta di Trinoro 1998. An imperial magnum of Sassicaia 1999 was donated to the auction by another member of Italy’s fashion pack, designer Giorgio Armani. At a hammer price of €4,800 (US$4,400), it achieved the auction’s top price for a single lot – the buyer was Siena’s Enoteca I Terzi .

Gelasio Gaetani Lovatelli d’Aragona , wine consultant to such VIPs as George Clooney, Don Johnson and Valentino, bid for several lots. He paid €460 (US$420) for a double magnum of Ornellaia Masseto 1993 on behalf of his ex-wife Countess Noemi Marone Cinzano, and also invested €550 (US$505) in a double magnum of Castello di Fonterutoli 1995 on behalf of the noted Roman jeweler Nicola Bulgheri.

The final lot of the day – a double magnum of Taittinger 2001 – was hotly contested by d’Aragona and the Maggio Musicale’s world-famous director, Zubin Mehta. In the end, Mehta was pipped at the post when d’Aragona outbid him with an offer of €1,100 (US$1,010).

Written by Michele Shah23 May 2002

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