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Fine wine news roundup: 9-15 November


Sotheby’s and Christie’s to hold mammoth end-of-season sales in New York

Two of the biggest names in fine wine auctioneering are planning on closing the year with blowout sales in New York.

First up, the Sotheby’s sale will take place across the weekend of 6-7 December featuring fine and rare gems from the Bronfman Cellar. The first day of the sale will be dominated by wines from the Left and Right Bank, across leading vintages such as 1982, 1989 and 1990.

The following day will see more varied offerings, including Burgundy from Domaine de la Romanee-Conti and Sylvain Cathiard, claret from Lafite, Mouton Rothschild and Petrus, as well as top flight US wines from Harlan, Screaming Eagle, Scarecrow and Sine Qua Non.

A few days later on 13 December, Christie’s kicks its end-of-year sale off with a cellar full of Lafite spanning vintages 1960-2012, as well as other Rothschild stars, such as Duhart-Milon, l’Evangile and Carruades de Lafite,

Also on sale is an ex-cellar offering from Gevrey-Chambertin standout Domaine Fourrier, featuring a variety of wines and vintages, such as six bottles of Griotte-Chambertin 1990.


Bordeaux’s Cite du Vin launches ‘unprecedented’ sale

Bordeaux’s major wine attraction, Cite du Vin, has teamed up with Sotheby’s for an online auction to benefit the museum.

Running until 22 November, the online sale includes a fabulous array of wines and wine experiences, including private dinners and visits to top estates such as Le Pin, Calon, Opus One and Taittinger.

There are 42 lots on offer in total, and all proceeds will be used to help Cite du Vin develop its 2020 cultural programme.

Jamie Ritchie, chairman of Sotheby’s Wine, referred to the museum as the ‘Guggenheim of wine’, and said that the auction house is “thrilled to join forces with this iconic institution and offer exciting once-in-a-lifetime opportunities donated by each winery, for wine lovers to visit these great properties and receive their legendary hospitality.”

He added that, “Meeting the people behind the wines provides an insight and perspective that is unique and will be an experience that can be savoured for the rest of one’s life.”


Rhone predicts high quality vintage

Yields from the 2019 Rhone Valley harvest will be down on 2017 levels but in line with 2018, according to Vignobles de la Vallee du Rhone, which says it is expecting a “very high” quality vintage.

The regional trade body said the area had shown “resilience in a difficult year for France”, with early estimates suggesting the harvest will amount to around 2.6 million – 2.8 million hectolitres.

Spring’s attacks of frost and hail, followed by scorching temperatures and drought across the country, has led some experts to predict a harvest reduction of as much as 14% across France.

“As harvesting comes to an end, Rhone Valley winegrowers are aware how fortunate they are to have a healthy crop and expectations are very high in terms of quality across the board,” the trade body said. 


Moderate wine consumption could lower risk of lung disease

The benefits of the occasional glass of wine have been well documented in terms of cardiac health, but not many studies exist exploring the relationship between alcohol and lung health. Until now, as a new report from Sweden suggests moderate wine consumption may lower the risk of lung disease in men.

The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, tracked 44,000 men between the ages of 45 and 79 from 1998 until the end of 2014. It found that moderate drinkers (consuming seven to 14 drinks per week) had a lower incidence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than both abstainers and heavy drinkers. In fact, those that didn’t consume any alcohol at all had a 21% higher incidence of the disease than individuals who drank moderately, while heavy drinkers (consuming more than 20 drinks per week) had a 34% higher incidence of COPD.

The researchers were mindful of other factors, such as smoking, exercise and diet, as well as hereditary illnesses, education and economic class. But even after adjusting for these confounding factors they deduced that moderate drinkers were at lower risk of COPD.

As such, the authors concluded, "We can hypothesise that the protective association for moderate alcohol consumption, especially beer and wine consumption, relates to the antioxidant impact of polyphenols present in alcoholic beverages.”

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