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Top Y’quem up for auction

Several high profile lots of Château d’Yquem are being offered in London this spring.

Sotheby’s will auction a single lot of 70 vintages ranging from 1892 to 2001, on behalf of Bordeaux-based internet vendor Wineandco. The sale – on April 16 – is expected to fetch in excess of £100,000 (US$202,679).

The vertical comprises 136, bottles, two from every year featured (with the exception of four vintages), from 1892 to 2001.

A Sotheby’s statement said the ‘impeccable provenance’ of the collection makes it unique: ‘Not one of the bottles in this collection has ever surfaced from the cellars of the château and, exceptionally, the collection will be sold lying at the property.’

At the same time and separately to Sotheby’s, fine wine brokers Bordeaux Wine Investments (BWI) are selling several 18-bottle sets of the iconic Sauternes first growth, representing vintages from 1934-1982 and priced at £13,500.00.

Professionals involved in the sale of Yquem vintages attribute the apparent rise in popularity of the chateau to the fact that it is considered a sure bet.

Sotheby’s senior director Stephen Mould said one of the secrets of the success of the chateau was its ageing potential. ‘When stored really well it is really the greatest and most long-lived sweet wine in the world.’

Simon Quinn of BWI said the company had sold all 100 of the Nebuchadnezzars (15 litre bottles) of the 2005 vintage it began offering for £8,625 in March 2007. These will be delivered in 2009.

‘The oldest I have tasted was the 1940, which came in the blue wartime glass. It wasn’t even a strong vintage, but it was still incredible, even after well over 60 years,’ he said.

Another veteran of the Yquem market, Stephen Williams of the Antique Wine Company, who in 2006 sold a vertical of 150 vintages from 1860 to the present, said the wine comprised a significant proportion of his 2007 annual sales.

‘We sold over 2,172 bottles of Chateau d’Yquem worth over £2.4m last year, which represents 18% of our turnover,’ said Williams.

Williams said his top five markets for the wine were Germany, UK, France, USA and Japan.

Written by Maggie Rosen

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