Wine News 23 08

Fine wine news roundup: 17-23 August


Christie’s announces autumn opener in Hong Kong

Christie’s first fine wine auction of the autumn season will take place on 7th September in Hong Kong.

The sale features 572 lots – many of which include rare Scotch and other collectible whiskies. On the wine side of things, buyers can expect superlative Bordeaux and Burgundy labels from Armand Rousseau, Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, Chateau Montrose, Chateau Pichon Baron and Chateau Margaux.

Other highlights include rare Champagne such as six bottles of Jacques Selosse’s Lieux Dits Collection (valued at HK$12,000-$18,000) and 12 bottles of 1995 ‘Reserve de L’Abbaye’ from Dom Perignon (HK$65,000-$95,000) – a very rare bottling of Dom Perignon that is sold only in Japan and undergoes 20 years of ageing on its lees prior to release.

From the New World, meanwhile, highlights include a lot of two bottles of cult favourite Screaming Eagle’s rare Sauvignon Blanc (HK$70,000-$100,000).


Zachys plan single-owner series worth US$25m

US fine wine auctioneer Zachys has planned a five-strong series of single owner sales this autumn, with a combined value of more than US$25 million.

The first sale will take place in Hong Kong on 6th September, featuring large format investment-grade Burgundy and Bordeaux. Then in New York on 19th September buyers will have the opportunity to purchase Burgundy and Rhone as well as a selection of mature Barolo from the 1960s and 1970s, including a 1937 Aldo Conterno Barolo Riserva and 1937 Monfortino.

Then again in New York, on 2nd October, Zachys will hold the follow-up sale to one held in June, featuring the second half of a collection comprising mature Burgundy, including a ‘killer retrospective’ of white Burgundy from 1986-2005.

The fourth sale – also in New York – takes place on 26th October featuring top Burgundy producers from the collection of renowned British collector Ian Mill QC, followed by the final single owner sale on 7th December, which features more rare claret and Burgundy.


La Place de Bordeaux gears up for September releases

La Place de Bordeaux was once a system used to distribute the wines of Bordeaux around the world – now it is no longer exclusively associated with the region and every September includes some of the most sought-after wines from the Rhone, Italy and the Rest of the World within its remit.

Amid the cache of releases expected next month, standouts will include Masseto 2016, which boasts a perfect 100-point score from the Wine Advocate’s Monica Larner; and Solaia 2016, which received 100 points from James Suckling. “Speechless here. I thought the 2015 was already perfect but this is perfect, too. But in a different way,” the critic wrote in his tasting notes.

Elsewhere, Opus One is set to release its 2016 vintage, praised by Suckling who awarded it 99 points for its “drive and brightness”, while Seña 2017 will fly the flag for Chile.

Meanwhile, Beaucastel Hommage J Perrin – which has made steady gains over the last year – is set to release its 2017. The wine was awarded 100 points by Jeb Dunnuck, who noted that “with full-bodied richness, a stacked, opulent mid-palate, building tannins, and a sensational finish, it’s another perfect wine from this team”.


End in sight for long-running St Emilion classification saga

The long-running saga around the St Emilion classification of 2012 will finally come to court next year, with the owners of Angelus and Trotte Vieelle accused of illegal interference in the process.

The 2012 reclassification of the Right Bank Bordeaux AOC led to extreme upset among winemakers in the region, with some claiming they had been unfairly passed over for promotion to higher ‘cru’ status or unfairly downgraded, while others were shown undue favouritism.

Hubert de Bouard, owner of Chateau Angelus, and Philippe Casteja, owner of Chateau Trotte Vieille, have been accused by claimants in the case of ‘pulling strings’ and leveraging their influence to control the outcome of the reclassification.

In the event, Angelus was elevated in the highest level, while Trotte Vieille retained its status as ‘Grand Cru Classe B’ despite acquiring and incorporating a lower-ranked estate prior to the judging. The claimants – the owners of Chateau La Tour du Pin Figeac, Corbin-Michotte and Croque-Michotte – were either downgraded or refused promotion.

Charges have been brought forward twice, in 2013 and 2015, but subsequently thrown out both times by administrative courts. The trial is expected to take place next year, with both de Bouard and Casteja denyng the charges.

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