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Bordeaux falls flat at Sotheby auction

Poor interest in Bordeaux led to a disappointing start of the auction year for Sotheby’s in Hong Kong.

Fetching HK$44 million, the auction failed to reach its prospective HK$50-70m but, in a trend carried over from last year, Burgundy topped the list for the most sought-after lots.

The top lot was a case of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti 1990, which sold for HK$1.8m. Two cases of 1988 Romanée-Conti followed it at HK$1.6m apiece.

Three magnums of 1921, 1929 and 1947 Veuve Clicquot direct from the Champagne house’s cellars attracted a lot of interest as well, finally being bought by a collector from the Chinese mainland.

Meanwhile, older vintages of Bordeaux continue to sell well – with cases of 1982 selling usually above their estimates – but younger vintages are suffering.

Six lots of Château Lafite’s 2003 vintage went unsold, as did other lots of Mouton Rothschild and Margaux.

Robert Sleigh, Sotheby’s senior director and head of wine for Asia, said: “Burgundy, Champagne and Californian wines continued to perform very strongly, along with mature Bordeaux.

“Commodity Bordeaux from younger vintages, that are still available in larger parcels, received less demand, which reflects the significant volumes of these wines that have been sold in the last two years, along with historic price increases.”

US houses Zachys and Acker Merrall & Condit had more successful sales on Friday and Saturday respectively.

The highlight of Acker’s sale was a double magnum of 1870 Lafite, which sold for HK$488,000 – the wine is so rare it had no reserve price.

Zachys’ auction included the collection of Dr Joseph Weinstock, which was 100% sold.

Highlights of that collection included a bottle of Cheval Blanc 1947, sold for HK$67,100 (estimate HK$38,000-60,000); four bottles of DRC La Tâche 1980, sold for HK$73,200 (estimate HK$28,000-42,000); and a case of Chevalier Montrachet Domaine Leflaive 1985, sold for HK$103,700 (estimate HK$46,000-70,000).

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