Petrus ’90 Fetching $45,938 Leads Sotheby’s New York Sale

A case of Chateau Petrus 1990 fetched $45,938 and 12 bottles of the same producer’s 1989 vintage sold for $42,875 to lead a Sotheby’s wine auction in New York dominated by buyers from North and South America.

The auction shows renewed buyer appetite for older Bordeaux vintages and rare Burgundies following price declines for younger wines, particularly first-growth claret. The Liv-ex 100 Fine Wine Index has retreated for 14 consecutive months, resulting in a 13 percent drop since March 2013.

Both top lots went to a Latin American buyer while nine bottles of Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1982 Bordeaux sold for $27,563 to a U.S. trade client, according to an e-mailed statement from Sotheby’s. Six magnums of La Tache 1998 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Burgundy sold for $24,500 while a single bottle of Romanee-Conti 1990 DRC fetched $19,600.

The sales reflect “really strong prices for the best producers and best domaines in Burgundy,” Duncan Sterling, head of New York wine auctions at Sotheby’s, said in a phone interview. “The American market is looking healthy.”

Petrus 1990 more than tripled in price on the London-based Liv-ex online wine exchange from 2005 to 2011, reaching 36,000 pounds ($61,000) a case in May 2011 at the height of the bull market for Bordeaux before retreating to 31,728 pounds last July.

Collectors have shunned the three most recent Bordeaux vintages, deterred by high prices and poor weather that harmed the crop during the growing season.

American Buyers

North American buyers accounted for 58 percent of the sale on June 21, which fetched a total of $1.72 million, according to Sotheby’s. Asian buyers made up 25 percent, South American 16 percent and European 1 percent.

Other top lots included a case of Chateau Haut-Brion 1989, rated one of the estate’s top three vintages of the past 25 years by U.S. critic Robert Parker, which sold for $17,150, and a single magnum of La Tache 1971 DRC, which went for $14,700.