Bordeaux wines struggle to keep up with Burgundy’s popularity in China wine auctions, but one notable Bordeaux name has completely slipped off the top list. Despite an overwhelming number of Château Lafite lots up for bids, not one of them was a chart topper at Christie’s recent Fine and Rare Wines auction in Hong Kong, with the top spots all going to Burgundy and other Bordeaux wines.
The wine auction held last Sunday fetched a total of USD$5.792 million, with 91 percent of lots sold and 88 percent sold by value. This is a step down from its previous Fine and Rare Wines auction in March, garnering $8 million and 96 percent of lots sold.
While the top 12 lots in this auction featured equally six wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux each, Burgundy maintained its crown as the bidders’ favorite, with five of the top six being from Burgundy vineyard Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. The top wines of the night were two 12-bottle lots of 1988 vintages from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, fetching $206,000 and $151,000 respectively, and both meeting price estimates. However, hope still remains for the dethroned Bordeaux. The third top wine was an 1811 Château d’Yquem, which exceeded its $52,000-$77,000 price estimate and raked in $119,000 for the auction house. This lot also contained a Hublot watch and Louis Vuitton suitcase specifically made for Jean-Claude Biver to contain both the wine and the watch, although they did not cause Christie’s to raise its estimate for the lot.
Conspicuously missing from this top list was Château Lafite-Rothschild. Despite there being 59 lots from this vineyard, the second most after Bordeaux Château Mouton-Rothschild with 60, the best-selling Château Lafite was a 1982 vintage that fetched $35,000. This puts it in 31st position by value. While Christie’s works to verify the authenticity of wines sold at auction, recent official claims that half of the Château Lafite sold in China is fake as well as people falling ill from the consumption of fake Bordeaux might have tempered tastes for this renowned terroir.
The top 12 lots all went to Asian private buyers, according to Christie’s. “Asian connoisseurs showed their keen appreciation for documented provenance and fine vintages ranging from Château d’Yquem to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti,” said Simon Tam, head of wine of Christie’s China, in a press release. “One of our auction highlights was an extremely rare 1811 bottle of Chateau d’Yquem, while other turn of the century d’Yquem classics were equally well received. We also saw bottles from the bodega of Vega Sicilia achieving some four times their pre-sale estimates.”