Sotheby’s to auction cellar of Parker’s ‘closest friend’

Sotheby’s first fine wine sale of the autumn/winter season in New York broke through the US$2 million barrier with an “impressive” season forecast by the auctioneer which will include a sale from the cellar of NYC collector Park B. Smith.

Held in NYC on 9 September, the first sale brought in $2.7m in total and was 95% sold with a over a quarter of the lots going to online bidders.

Consignments of classic Bordeaux and a “superlative” selection of offerings from Heitz Cellar and Mayacamas Vineyards sold “exceptionally well”, making $247,729 and $272,976 respectively – far above their pre-sale high estimates.

Connor Kriegel, Sotheby’s Wine’s head of Auction Sales in New York, commented: “Today’s exceptional results are a harbinger of an impressive fall season to come at Sotheby’s Wine.

“The global market took notice of the extraordinary quantities and superlative storage of The Classic California collection, leading to astonishing prices for Heitz Martha’s Vineyard and Mayacamas. Elsewhere, demand for blue chip wines such as 1989 Haut-Brion, Henri Jayer and DRC remains incredibly strong.”

The highest-selling lots included three bottles of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s 2003 La Tâche which made $46,550; a full case of 1989 Haut-Brion which went for $23,275; four magnums of 1959 Lafite went for the same price; a Jeroboam of 1982 Mouton Rothschild sold for $13,475 and 10 bottles of 1974 Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon achieved $7,350.

The auctioneer also revealed details of its sale in New York on 11 November, which will include a private cellar consignment from the Park Smith collection.

A businessman and restaurateur, Smith has amassed an extraordinary collection of fine wines over the years and a portion of his cellar was previously offered by Sotheby’s in 2006, making $5.3m and set a new auction record at that time for an auction lot with 50 cases of 1982 Mouton making a combined $1,051,600. It remains the second highest most valuable wine lot ever sold at auction.

The sale includes a great swathe of blue chip Bordeaux and Burgundy and there is an exceptionally high volume of large format bottles; with 1,729 magnums, 206 double magnums and 23 imperials – the equivalent of 4,466 standard bottles – all going under the hammer.

In addition, 12% of the bottles in the sale, amounting to some 200 gallons of wine, are labels that have been awarded 100-points by critic Robert Parker.

Highlights of the sale include: Bottles and magnums of 1982, 1986 and 1990 first growths, magnums of 1953 and 1959 Mouton Rothschild, a magnum of 1953 Haut-Brion and a bottle of the 1959; magnums of 1982, 1988, 1989 and 1998 Petrus, double magnums of the 1996 and 1998; a six-litre bottle of 1988 Montrachet from DRC, magnums of 1996 Chevalier Montrachet from Domaine Leflaive and six bottles of 1989 Corton Charlemagne from Coche-Dury.

Parker, a close friend of Smith, said: “Park Smith has been a dear friend and mentor for over three decades. We met because of his passion for wine, and

Robert Parker

when I was invited to his home for a tasting, I was astonished by the depth, provenance, beauty, and diversity of his wine collection.

“I have been in the business of evaluating wines for just short of 40 years, been blessed to travel the world and see wine cellars that are considered legendary in their home countries. Yet, I have never seen a cellar of such exceptional wines and one of such breadth as Park’s. Those fortunate enough to acquire some of Park’s vinous treasures will be getting wines bought with meticulous attention to detail.

“In essence, they are as pristine as a wine can possibly be.”

Jamie Ritchie, Sotheby’s worldwide head of wine, added: “It is a great honour to offer such a wonderful selection of wines from Park B. Smith’s collection in a special single-owner auction in New York. While Park is perhaps best known as a renowned collector, he is also a savvy businessman, accomplished restaurateur, and steadfast philanthropist – all of which are qualities that are reflected in his illustrious cellar.”

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