Top Burgundies including Romanee-Conti, Cros Parantoux and La Tache led bidding at a Zachys wine auction in New York this month amid demand for rare vintages from collectors and investors in the U.S. and Hong Kong.
A six-liter Methuselah of Romanee-Conti 1990 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti fetched $171,500 at the two-day sale ended March 8, while a case of Vosne-Romanee Cros Parantoux Henri Jayer 1997 sold for $39,200 and a three-liter jeroboam of La Tache Domaine de la Romanee-Conti went under the hammer for $29,400.
The sale came after Burgundy wines also led auctions held by Acker Merrall & Condit in New York and Christie’s International Plc online last month. While the broader wine market has rebounded since December, demand has focused more on rarer Burgundies as Asian collectors sought to diversify away from heavily-traded Bordeaux labels. The London-based Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index rose 2.9 percent in February, its third straight monthly gain.
“We saw an increased presence of people from Hong Kong, definitely more than last year,” Julia Gilbert, auction director at Zachys, said in a telephone interview. “I think that’s going to continue.”
Three bottles of Romanee-Conti DRC 2008 and a separate three-bottle lot of the same producer’s 2006 vintage both sold for $26,950 each, according to an e-mail from Zachys.
Six magnums of Bonnes Mares Georges Roumier 1999 fetched $18,375, beating the auction house’s presale estimate, while a six-bottle lot of white Corton Charlemagne Coche-Dury 2005 also went under the hammer for the same price.
Other lots included a magnum of Musigny Vieilles Vignes Comte Georges de Vogue 1947, which sold for $10,413, and six bottles of La Tache DRC 2002 which went under the hammer for $11,025.
Among top Burgundies sold at recent auctions around the world, six bottles of white Montrachet 1993 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti fetched the top price at a Sotheby’s wine sale in London on Feb. 27, selling for 21,150 pounds ($32,060) and matching the auction house’s high estimate.
While demand for Burgundy remains strong at auctions around the world, some wine investors are cautious about the outlook.
“We’ve seen Burgundy prices rise,” Chris Smith, investment manager at The Wine Investment Fund in London, said. “I would be worried about the risk profile.” The fund, which has about $50 million under management, is currently invested purely in Bordeaux, partly because the larger wine production from that region’s estates makes them easier to trade.
Acker Merrall & Condit sold a three-bottle lot of Romanee Conti 2006 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti for $27,060 at a New York sale on Feb. 23, along with 12 bottles of Leroy Romanee-Saint-Vivant 1962 for $24,600 and Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Beze 1990 for $18,450.
Christie’s sold a case of Montrachet 1988 DRC for $33,880 at a February online auction, with two bottles of the 1985 vintage fetching $7,260, while two 12-bottle Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Assortment cases from 1999 sold for 28,200 pounds each at Sotheby’s in London on Jan. 30.
Following is a table of major auctions held so far this year, with the total sold. Links are to auction websites or results statements.
JANUARY: Jan. 11/12: Zachys, Hong Kong $4.65 mln Jan. 25/26: Acker, Merrall & Condit, Hong Kong $6.82 mln Jan. 30: Sotheby’s, London $2.22 mln FEBRUARY: Feb. 2: Hart Davis Hart, Chicago $4.40 mln Feb. 21: Christie’s, London $1.47 mln Feb. 23: Acker, Merrall & Condit, New York £3.10 mln Feb. 23: Sotheby’s, New York $1.46 mln Feb. 27: Sotheby’s, London $1.04 mln MARCH: March 7/8: Zachys, New York $5.81 mln