Auction Series Marks The First Time That Krug Will Auction A Set Of Champagnes From The 1980s & ’90s
One of the most significant trends that has gained strength in the last two years has been the emergence of Hong Kong as Asia’s wine auction epicenter. Having only dropped its stiff wine tariff in February 2008, the one-time trickle of wine into Hong Kong has since become a sustained flood, with cashed-up Chinese buyers (both locals and Mainlanders) becoming some of the world’s most aggressive bidders at sell-out auctions and filling up pricey wine vaults throughout the city. Over the past year, Sotheby’s has held eight sold-out wine auctions in Hong Kong, with the most recent pulling in HK$65.5 million (US$8.5 million), comfortably ahead of its pre-sale estimate of HK$19.9 million. Other auction houses have also hit gold this year in Hong Kong, with Acker Merrall & Condit setting a new Asian record this summer with a mammoth 19,000 bottle sale that brought in a grand total of US$19.5 million.
After a string of successful wine auctions this year, Christie’s will hold a two-day “Finest and Rarest Wines” series in Hong Kong this Friday and Saturday, November 26-27. Featuring more than 600 lots valued over HK$60 million (US$7.7 million), the auction series includes several extensive collections, from ten years of China favorite Lafite-Rothschild (1992-2002) to a strictly curated group of first growth Bordeaux and Dom Pérignon champagnes, as well as a collection of wines from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti that should make collectors’ mouths water and their bank accounts cry for mercy.
Although the sale is weighted strongly towards the Bordeaux region — no big surprise, considering the buying habits of Chinese collectors and wine enthusiasts — an interesting addition is a presentation of rare Krug cuvées, featuring Krug Clos du Mesnil, Krug Clos d’Ambonnay, Krug Vintages, Krug Collections and Krug Grande Cuvée. This marks the first and only time that Krug has ever put to auction a set of champagnes from the 1980s and ’90s. As an added bonus, the buyer of this 144-bottle lot, valued at HK$450,000-550,000 (US$57,700-70,500), will be entitled to a VIP journey to the Krug Maison in Reims, France, which includes a rare preview of the “assemblage” for the 2010 Krug Grande Cuvée, a private guided tasting of at least 10 different Krug Grande Cuvées from over the last 20 years, and two Krug gastronomic and personal experiences – one in ‘Clos du Mesnil’ and the other in one of the Michelin starred restaurant in the region.
Whether the buyer chooses to ultimately pair his or her rare bubblies with dim sum will remain to be seen.