Sotheby's aims for auction record with DRC 'super lot'


Sotheby's hopes to break its auction record by selling a single lot of 114 bottles of DRC Romanee-Conti wines in a Burgundy-dominated auction in Hong Kong.

Sotheby’s expects the so-called ‘super lot’, including six bottles from the 1992 to 2010 vintages inclusive, to fetch up to HK$20m (US$2.5m) at the sale on 4 October.

The auction house’s current record for a single lot sale is held by a 50-case haul of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1982, which sold for just over $1m in New York in 2006.

‘The bottles in this super lot can be tried at various stages of their life, which is going to be an intoxicating experience,’ said Sotheby’s’ head of international wine, Serena Sutcliffe MW. The exact sourcing of the wines was not immediately clear, but Sotheby’s said all bottles have been ‘curated by a Master of Wine’.

Domaine de la Romanee-Conti (DRC) has been the darling of wine auction houses in recent years, outselling Bordeaux first-growths at Sotheby’s in 2013 to fetch a total $7.2m.

Production at the top Burgundy domaines is only a fraction of their Bordeaux counterparts. DRC makes 5,500 bottles of Romanee-Conti annually on average.

With buyer demand for Bordeaux still muted, especially for highly rated vintages from the past decade, Asia-based buyers’ rising interest in Burgundy could offer Sotheby’s a way of recouping a 10% drop in global wine auction sales last year.

Burgundy is set to constitute 40% of sales by volume and 70% of sales by value at the auction house’s Hong Kong sale in early October.

A central part of the sale is likely to be 66 magnums of Henri Jayer wines spread across 19 lots and including Vosne-Romanee and Cros Parantoux 1990. All are sourced from the cellar of Netscape founder James Clark and are expected to fetch up to HK$8.8m (US$1.12m)

Burgundian producers are set to take centre-stage in the wine auction world more generally this autumn. In New York, Wally's Auctions is planning to auction $15m-worth of wine at a series of auctions, beginning on 12 September. This will include 2,000 cases of grand cru Burgundy, direct from producers' cellars.

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