Will Hong Kong Regain Its Lead In 2013?
After losing its position as the world’s largest wine auction market to the US in 2012, Hong Kong is set to host one of its most high-profile auctions of the year on March 22-23, packed with top-tier Bordeaux and Burgundy as well as rare Californian lots. Held at Island Shangri-La and Grand Hyatt Hong Kong by Acker Merrall & Condit, the sale will include more than 950 lots, valued at HK$40 million (US$5 million). Observers will no doubt be keenly watching to see whether Chinese demand for top-flight Bordeaux in particular is showing signs of a significant rebound, or if the interest of collectors still leans towards Burgundy.
Perhaps anticipating continued strong demand for Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC) — which supplanted Lafite over the past two years as the auction favorite of regional collectors — Acker has plenty of DRC up for grabs at the upcoming auction series. Highlights include an original banded wooden case of six bottles of 2005 DRC, estimated to go for US$90,000-120,000, 12 bottles of 1999 DRC Assortment, estimated at US$35,000-50,000, and three bottles of 2004 DRC, estimated to go for US$22,000-30,000.
Other popular names set to go under the hammer include Château Pétrus — a rising star among Chinese buyers. All eyes will be on 12 bottles of 1982 Pétrus, estimated to go for US$60,000-80,000.
In addition to four featured collections that run the gamut from “brand-name” red Bordeaux and Burgundy to white Burgundy from Roulot, Sauzet, Henri Boillot and others, one of the more notable features of the upcoming series is a set of two superlots of rare California reds: Marcassin Pinot Noir and Harlan. Hard-to-find Marcassin is well-represented in the series, with 186 bottles of 12 vintages up for grabs, estimated at US$40,000-60,000. As collectors in Hong Kong have been slow to jump on the California bandwagon, we’re curious to see if they’re ready to look beyond the normal French names and towards rare New World vintages.
For his part, Acker Merrall & Condit CEO John Kapon is optimistic. As Kapon rather ebulliently put it, “there is a growing thirst for rare cult wines from America’s top estates. Demand is growing everywhere. As the first sale in the Year of the Snake, we are delighted to bring to our collectors four sensational featured collections, and superlots from Marcassin and Harlan in California, two of California’s greatest estates, alongside our usual spectacular array of the most highly sought after wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy.”