Petrus ’90 Leads Sotheby’s Wine Sale to Beat House High Estimate

  • Sale was 42,300 pounds against high estimate of 34,000 pounds
  • Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index of top Bordeaux climbed this year

Twelve bottles of Petrus 1990 sold for 42,300 pounds ($51,568) at a Sotheby’s wine sale in London this month, beating the auction house’s top estimate, while a similar quantity of the Pomerol grower’s 1989 vintage fetched 35,250 pounds.

Petrus accounted for four of the top five lots, with the 1990 vintage selling above the high estimate of 34,000 pounds, excluding the 17.5 percent buyer’s premium, according to an e-mailed statement from Sotheby’s. Six bottles each of Petrus 1982 and 2000 vintages fetched 18,800 pounds and 17,625 pounds, respectively. All four Petrus lots went to Asian buyers, while a U.K. trade buyer paid 15,863 pounds for 12 bottles of first growth Chateau Haut Brion 1989. Twelve bottles of Richebourg 1989 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Burgundy fetched 18,800 pounds.

Petrus in Bordeaux’s Pomerol district produces one of the region’s most expensive wines.

Photo: Guy Collins/Bloomberg News

The Oct. 12 sale came as the fine wine market is rallying after a 40 percent drop in prices of many top Bordeaux wines since 2011. The London-based Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index of top Bordeaux has risen almost 24 percent this year, with three consecutive quarterly gains. The broader Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 Index gained 18 percent this year to the end of September.

The results of the sale “demonstrated that Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne are currently in great demand,” Stephen Mould, head of Sotheby’s wine, Europe, said in the statement. “We saw strong bidding from Asia, the Americas, Europe and the U.K.”

Chateau Mouton Rothschild’s 2000 vintage was also prominent among the top wines in the auction, with two 12-bottle cases selling for 15,275 pounds each and two other 12-bottle lots, along with one six-magnum lot, each fetching 14,688 pounds.

Historic Bordeaux wines were also featured, including a single bottle of Chateau Latour from each of the 1908 and 1914 vintages, which sold for 2,115 pounds and 2,585 pounds, respectively. Two bottles from its 1909 vintage fetched a combined 3,055 pounds.

Other wines more than half a century old in the sale included a bottle of Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1945, which went for 7,050 pounds, a magnum of Latour 1959, which sold for 4,465 pounds, and a Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes from 1921, which fetched 3,055 pounds.

The auction totaled 1.47 million pounds, with 98 percent of lots sold, according to Sotheby’s.

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