US ‘reasserts’ itself at Sotheby’s sale

American buyers were out in force at Sotheby’s New York sale this week, in an auction that made US$1.4 million and was dominated by Bordeaux.

1982-Chateau-Lafite-RothschildLafite and its fellow first growths were back to winning ways at the sale on 26 April, though largely due to an absence of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in the line-up.

In recent years, whether in London, New York or Hong Kong, DRC and Pétrus have tended to be the leading lots at auction.

The sale did feature some DRC, but not much, the majority of the Burgundies being Armand Rousseau, Bernard Grivelet and Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier among others.

Strangely, some of the single bottles of DRC sold but 10 bottles of 1985 Echézeaux, with a mere $7,000-$10,000 estimate, remained unsold.

With so little competition from Burgundy, Bordeaux was left to rule the roost.

A case of 1982 Lafite was the most expensive lot at $36,750 (£23,500), well within its high estimate but an absolute steal when its best list price on Liv-ex is still around £30,000 – and also a sign of how far the fine wine market has fallen of late.

A case of Château Lafleur 2000 went for $24,500 and 12 bottles of 1989 Haut-Brion for $22,050.

Pétrus 1990 and 1988, more ’82 Lafite as well as 1982 Mouton and La Mission Haut-Brion were the rest of the Bordeaux top sellers, while the market for fine Champagne was highlighted by three bottles of 1979 Krug Clos du Mesnil which made $11,025.

Duncan Sterling, head of New York Wine Auctions at Sotheby’s said: “North America reasserted itself in the auction market today accounting for 15 out of the top 20 buyers in our sale. This, coupled with continued demand from Brazil and Mexico drove the sale total comfortably over the high estimate.”

 

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