Henri Jayer sale is biggest wine auction ever

An ex-cellar sale of Henri Jayer wines has shattered all previous wine auction records to achieve an astonishing CHF34.5 million (£26.3m/US$34.5m), which the auctioneer, Baghera Wines, claims, “sets a new reference standard for all rare wine auctions”.

Held in Geneva on 17 June, the sale featured 855 bottles and 209 magnums of Henri Jayer wines that were all consigned to the auction by the late winemaker’s family.

There were around 100 active bidders from Asia, the Americas and Europe either in the auction room itself or bidding over the phone or internet.

Demand for the wines – which are reputedly the last that will ever be released from the cellars – drove many lots to quite unprecedented heights.

Particular highlights included: a 15 magnum vertical of Cros Parantoux spanning 1978 to 2001 which realised CHF1.1m (£841,211); one magnum of 1978 Cros Parantoux went for CHF144,000 (£110,000); six magnums of 1999 Cros Parantoux sold for CHF528,000 (£403,750) and a bottle of 1986 Richebourg made CHF50,400 (£38,500).

Michael Ganne, executive director of Baghera Wines, commented: “This historical auction opens a new page in the world of fine wines. The Baghera Wines’ team is delighted that this sale pays this ultimate tribute to the genius of Henri Jayer and will perpetuate his relentless creative spirit. The very last bottles from Henri Jayer’s cellar have thus reached another dimension: eternity maybe?”

Renowned as one of Burgundy’s greatest winemakers of recent times and a master of Pinot Noir, Henri Jayer’s death in 2006 (following retirement in 2001) has caused the inexorable rise of his wines on the international auction circuit; the rarity of his remaining wines, his reputation and an insatiable demand for top Burgundy combining to create the perfect storm in which a result such as this could exist.

2 Responses to “Henri Jayer sale is biggest wine auction ever”

  1. These prices are obscene, but at least the bottles are probably authentic, which I suspect many other Jayer bottles sold at auction are not.

  2. Boris Seymour says:

    Comedy Central: “First of all, I wanted to understand, analyse, explain… This adoration, this amusing – and at times frightening – veneration is something I have had the chance to observe closely and have tried to interpret… How indeed can one define this perfect synergy between a “climat” and a man, this alchemy recognizable amongst all? No one truly knows the secret. But, if myths can help us elucidate the most arcane puzzles, then the “Henri Jayer myth” could probably offer an explanation that may meet our expectations.

    I wanted to understand your vineyards by walking your land, from Vosne to the Richebourg, reaching the Cros-Parantoux, treading the stones that you dynamited more than 60 years ago. I contemplated these noble and robust vines that have found their corner of paradise.

    I wanted to embrace your “Domaine” by examining the vat-room and the cellar, by caressing the press in an attempt to imagine its vibrations, by putting my nose to the vats as if to detect a reminiscence of berries. There I am, trying to comprehend the burden of the labour by under-weighing each tool, putting my ear to the barrels’ bellies to listen to their breath, imagining one last vintage we might dream of preparing in this august cellar…

    I wanted to understand who you were by chatting with your daughters, Lydie and Dominique, in your living room which has remained intact for so many years, their stories and anecdotes kindling my desire to get the picture all the more.
    In your office, which has also remained unchanged, I ardently leafed through your precious diaries in which you scrupulously recorded your days in the vineyard with your wife Marcelle and your close team, ever since 1948.

    I wanted to understand your wine by tasting it whenever I could, attempting to fathom the feelings and sensations you seek to make us experience – a fabulous journey to the pinnacle of pleasure.

    I wanted to share remembrances with your nephew Emmanuel Rouget, whom you took under your wing in order to entrust him with the jewel that you created, one that he continues to enhance.

    Now, I know it’s fruitless to attempt explaining the talent and the magic of the man – we just have to feel and peacefully enjoy to the full these masterpieces that you leave us as a legacy.

    Hence, let us turn the final page of the most mythical Burgundian “Domaine” together. The lights have been turned off, the cellar is empty. These vintages, these ultimate bottles, which you so carefully kept at the estate, are now awaiting us for a marvelous sale. May we share this unique moment and bring these treasures from the past back to life, as you would surely have wished, dear Henri Jayer, with all due respect. ”

    Michael Ganne

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