Fine wine news roundup: 14-20 December



Penfolds Grange vertical smashes auction records

A set of Penfolds Grange covering vintages from 1951 to 2015 has been sold for AU$372,800, smashing the previous auction record for a similar vertical, which sold for $349,500.

The sale, held by Australian auctioneer Langton’s, also saw a number of other records broken. Two single bottles of Penfolds Grange 1951 – the first vintage made – sold for $81,000 each. Meanwhile, a bottle of the 1953 sold for more than $31,000, beating the previous record of $17,475.

Overall the auction made more than $1 million.

Commenting on the sale, general manager of Langton’s, Jeremy Parham, said: “We’ve seen fewer and fewer of Penfolds Grange sets on the markets, and the collectors are certainly looking for them, so watch this space – I’m sure the demand will keep going up.”

The next Penfolds auction at Langton’s will take place in June 2020.


Record prices achieved for Languedoc’s Grange des Peres

The first vintage of Grange des Peres – one of the Languedoc’s leading domains – sold for a record price following a bidding war during a recent iDealwine auction. The bottle of 1992 red sold for €5,219, after a French enthusiast outlasted two other bidders.

Elsewhere, single bottles of the 1992, 1993 and 1994 sold for over €1,000 each, with the 1993 eventually selling for €1,418 – 770% over its starting bid.

The estate’s white wines were also in high demand, with a bottle of the 1996 selling for €448 and the 2004 going for €552.


Chablis 2019 declared a ‘quality’ vintage

The Chablis Commission of the BIVB has declared 2019 a “beautifully balanced” and “quality” vintage.

The positive announcement comes after unpredictable growing conditions and tumultuous temperatures, which have resulted in a slight drop in terms of volume. However, the body says that the region is taking the changing climate into account.

“Our wine growers are having to work that bit harder to adapt to the changing conditions we are seeing in terms of temperature and rainfall, but with the knowledge we have going back generations along with the team effort within the Chablis community, we have been able to produce a top quality vintage,” said Louis Moreau, President at Chablis Commission of the BIVB.

Despite the challenging conditions, the vintage is said to clearly demonstrate Chablis’ “world-renowned crisp acidity and perfect balance.”


Sotheby’s fine wine sales hit highest total ever

Sotheby’s wine and spirit sales hit US$118 million in 2019 – the highest total ever and 20% higher than last year.

Major highlights for the auction house this year included the ‘Tran-scend-ent’ sale in Hong Kong in April, which at $29 million set a new record for a single owner collection. The sale was part of a four-day sale that set a further record, for a wine sales series, at $34.8 million.

Other notable results included the sale of 75 cases of Mouton Rothschild for $2.7 million, and the fourth instalment of the Don Stott Cellar, which totalled $5.5 million.

This was also the year that Sotheby’s launched its Own Label Collection, which aims to provide a range of affordable wines that are classic examples and typical of each region.

Jamie Ritchie, chairman of Sotheby’s Wine, noted that 2019 had been another record-setting year for the company, and added that “2020 will be our 50th anniversary year and will celebrate the evolution of our wine business since our first sale in Glasgow in 1970.”


Turkey unveils its first £100 wine

Turkey may not be the first region you think of when you consider fine wines, but a new release from a producer within the country demonstrates Turkish aspirations to change that. Chamlija, based in Turkish Trace, has released the country’s first £100 bottle of wine.

The wine – a single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon called Django – is made in the foothills of the Strandja Mountains, some 50km from the Turkey-Bulgaria border and the Black Sea. The grapes were hand-picked and harvested in September 2016, with the wine then aged for 24 months in new French oak barrels.

The 15% abv Cabernet is named after Belgian-born Romani-French jazz guitarist and composer Django Reinhardt. Founder of Chamlija, Mustafa Camlica, says: “The reason we dedicate wine to this extraordinary musician is because he lost two fingers of his left hand in a caravan fire at the age of 18, and his misfortune caused him to develop it further, rather than destroy his great talent on guitar.

“Django was a very unfortunate person in that sense. During the peak period of fascism, he made his music as a Roma musician under Nazi occupation. Instead of asking what I would get from this world, he strived to offer humanity the products of God’s enormous musical talent, which he had been gifted to, under any circumstances in his lifetime.

“Our Django wine is similarly part of our effort sought to present you with the enormous potential of the “Strandja teruar”, which is God’s gift to us.”

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