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Sotheby’s Sells Petrus Back to 1945, Echezeaux ’78 Jayer

Pomerol 1961
A case of Chateau Latour a Pomerol 1961 sold for 103,400 pounds ($167,100) at a Sotheby's auction in London on Oct. 23, more than double its low estimate. Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg

Petrus wines spanning more than half a century and dating back to 1945 go on sale at a Sotheby’s auction in London this week along with historic Pomerol from the 1920s and Burgundies including Echezeaux 1978 Jayer.

A case of Chateau Latour a Pomerol 1961 carries an upper estimate of 50,000 pounds ($80,800), while 12 bottles of Petrus 1982 are priced to fetch as much as 38,000 pounds, according to Sotheby’s online catalog. Two cases of Petrus 1990 and one of its 1989 vintage each carry top estimates of 30,000 pounds.

The sale comes as the Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index, tracking leading Bordeaux vintages from more recent years, has declined since March 15, paring an 8 percent gain made in the previous 11 weeks to leave it 1 percent up since the end of December. Lower demand from Asia has combined with sterling strength against the dollar to leave the benchmark index little changed from the level at which it was trading at the end of June last year.

“Overall it’s a good time to be investing, because prices have come down so much over the last couple of years,’ said Chris Smith, investment manager at The Wine Investment Fund in London. “We’re now well below the trend line, so that in itself gives potential for a boost.” The fund, invested in Bordeaux, manages $50 million.

Personal Cellar

Historic bottles in the sale include one magnum of Petrus 1945, with a top estimate of 16,000 pounds, another from its 1961 vintage valued at as much as 13,000 pounds and a magnum of Latour a Pomerol 1929 priced to fetch as much as 5,500 pounds.

Petrus has 28 acres (11 hectares) planted with red-grape vines, of which 95 percent are Merlot and 5 percent Cabernet Franc. The Bordeaux vineyard is in Pomerol, on the right bank of the Dordogne river. Fermentation is in temperature-controlled concrete tanks and the wine matured in new oak barrels.

Lots in the first part of the sale come from the personal cellar of Lily Lacost-Loubat, a former owner of Petrus who inherited both that estate and Chateau Latour a Pomerol in 1961 from her aunt, according to an e-mailed Sotheby’s statement. Proceeds from that part of the sale will go to a charity.

Wines elsewhere in the auction, which is estimated to raise as much as 1.4 million pounds in total, include a single bottle of Echezeaux 1978 Burgundy from Henri Jayer, carrying a top estimate of 3,600 pounds, and eight bottles of Maison Leroy’s Musigny 1978, priced to fetch as much as 14,000 pounds.

Here is a list of global wine auctions scheduled so far this year. Dates may be subject to revision, and links are to auction house sale catalogs and websites.


Oct. 23:         Sotheby’s, London
Oct. 24:         Bonhams, London
Oct. 24:         Christie’s, London
Oct. 25/26:      Acker Merrall & Condit, Hong Kong
Oct. 25/26:      Hart Davis Hart, Chicago


Nov. 7/8:        Christie’s, London
Nov. 9:          Sotheby’s, New York
Nov. 12/13:      Christie’s, Geneva
Nov. 13:         Sotheby’s, London
Nov. 15:         Christie’s, New York
Nov. 21:         Acker Merrall & Condit, New York
Nov. 21:         Bonhams, Hong Kong
Nov. 23:         Bonhams, San Francisco
Nov. 24:         Christie’s, Hong Kong


Dec. 5:          Bonhams, London
Dec. 6:          Christie’s, Paris
Dec. 7:          Christie’s, New York
Dec. 7:          Sotheby’s, New York
Dec. 11:         Sotheby’s, London
Dec. 12:         Bonhams, London
Dec. 12/13:      Christie’s, London
Dec. 13/14       Acker Merrall & Condit, Hong Kong
Dec. 13/14:      Hart Davis Hart, Chicago
Dec. 18:         Acker Merrall & Condit, New York

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