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Top 10 Champagnes at Sotheby’s

Champagne is enjoying a bit of attention in the auction spotlight at the moment.

Krug, Clos du Mesnil 2000Zachys’ coming sale in New York is going to feature quite an astounding collection of Krug – dominated by perhaps some of the rarest of all fine Champagnes: Clos du Mesnil and Clos d’Ambonnay.

Meanwhile in Hong Kong, Sotheby’s is bringing what the house’s head of wine, Robert Sleigh, has called: “one of the best collections of Champagne to ever come to Asia,” this April.

The sale will feature over 1,000 bottles of Champagne including 341 bottles and 46 magnums of Krug spanning 18 vintages between 1979 and 1996.

There will also be 397 bottles and 16 magnums of Dom Pérignon, its rosé and Oenothèque  (now “P2”) from 1966-2000.

Look out as well for Bollinger’s 1999 “Vieilles Vignes Françaises”.

Nonetheless, nothing can hide the fact that over the course of 2014, while Burgundy, the Rhône, Italy, California and the mysterious “other” all saw average bottle prices rise at Sotheby’s auctions and in its retail arm, Champagne declined in price – and more than Bordeaux.

Average bottle prices for Champagne at auction fell 29% to US$286 while Bordeaux prices dipped just 1% to $486. Burgundy by contrast saw prices rise 29% to $767 a bottle in 2014.

In retail, Champagne prices dropped 37% to just $91 a bottle – the biggest drop among all categories and making Champagne the third cheapest category overall, ahead of the Rhône ($47 p/b) and “other” ($46 p/b).

Of course, the low retail price is likely due to buyers picking more affordable, “everyday” Champagne – something like R&L Legras which Sotheby’s represents and promotes as its “house” or “pouring” Champagne.

The following page shows the leading Champagne houses sold by Sotheby’s during 2014 at auction and retail and their 2013 ranking. The very top Champagnes have moved very little but there have been some surprising rises and falls in the early (lower) part of the list…

10. Billecart-Salmon


2013 ranking: 10

9. Jacques Selosse


2013 ranking: 7

8. Bollinger


2013 ranking: 6

7. Veuve Clicquot


2013 ranking: 12

6. Taittinger


2013 ranking: 9

5. R&L Legras

Non Vintage BdB1

2013 ranking: 5

4. Salon


2013 ranking: 8

3. Louis Roederer


2013 ranking: 4

2. Dom Pérignon


2013 ranking: 1

1. Krug

2013 ranking: 2


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