Fine wine news roundup: 14-20 September


Don Stott cellar makes a total $25m

The final instalment of wines from the Don Stott cellar realised US$5.9 million in New York this week, bringing the collection’s entire total to $25 million.

The fourth and final sale of the enormous collection featured more than 1,200 lots – 80% of which were sold for over their high estimate.

Ten bottles of Domaine Armand Rousseau's 1991 Chambertin topped the sale with a price of $99,200. Other highlights included two magnums of DRC 1971 La Tache ($74,400), three bottles of 2015 Romanee-Conti ($68,200), as well as bottles and magnums of 1985, 2005 and 2010 Musigny from Georges Roumier, bottles of Rousseau’s 1971 Chambertin Clos de Beze and a single bottle of 1934 Romanee-Conti, which went for $39,680.

Connor Kriegel, head of auction sales for Sotheby’s Wine in New York, said: “Over the past four years, it has been an honour to present the most important collection of Burgundy ever to appear on the market, and this unique opportunity was met with enthusiastic participation from collectors around the world: from North and South America, to Asia and Europe across the four auctions … It has been a privilege to work alongside Don on this exceptional series of sales.”


Chateau d’Yquem releases 2017 vintage

Following a number of high-profile releases this month, Chateau d'Yquem has followed suit with its 2017 vintage, releasing it at €275 a bottle ex-negociant – a 10% mark-up on 2016’s opening price.

Scores from critics have been largely positive, but have sent some mixed messages. James Suckling and Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW scored the wine 97-99 and 98-99 respectively, commenting on its “beautiful fruit and intensity” and “epic length”.

Meanwhile, Antonio Galloni and Neal Martin both praised the wine, awarding it 94-97 and 95-97 respectively, but both noted that the 2017 wasn’t quite up to par with the estate’s great vintages, with Martin suggesting it “might not be up there with the top tier Yquems over the last century”.

Meanwhile, the 2018 vintage of Yquem’s dry white, ‘Y de Y’quem’ has been released for £1,116 a case.


Ornellaia auction raises $312,000 for charity

An auction of Super Tuscan Ornellaia’s ‘Vendemmia d’Artista’ collection raised US$312,000 for charity last week.

Proceeds from the sale, held by Sotheby’s, will go to the Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation’s ‘Mind’s Eye’ programme, which helps blind and visually impaired people experience art.

This year’s Vendemmia collection featured labels designed by Shirin Neshat, who drew her inspiration from the Persian poet Omar Khayyam’s hymns to wine.

A bottle with a bespoke label is then included in every case of that vintage’s Ornellaia (2016 in this instance), while larger formats – 100 Jeroboams, 10 Imperials and one Salmanazar – are then sold in a special auction with the proceeds donated to a charitable cause.


Lafite opens Chinese winery Dong Lai on ‘auspicious’ date

Domaines Baron de Rothschild (DBR) has officially opened its Chinese winery Dong Lai, choosing the auspicious date of 19/09/2019 to open its doors to the public and launch its first vintage.

General manager Charles Treutenaere said: “We chose this date, on the occasion of Qiu Fen – the mid-autumn festival – to reflect that the estate’s winemaking calendar goes through the 24 seasons in China and the symbolism of the number 9, a lucky number for vintages in Bordeaux and a symbol of longevity in China.”

The first wine from the estate – the 2017 vintage – is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Marselan and Cabernet Franc.

Saskia de Rothschild, chairwoman of DBR, said: “Making wine here is a story of balance between cultures – the local knowledge and traditions of the people of the Qiu Shan Valley, and the timeless winemaking approaches of Lafite.

“This idea of balance was also what we wanted to reflect by establishing a winery that was a contemporary translation of a traditional style of China gray clay bricks, in constant dialogue with the landscape.”

Visits are by appointment only.

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