Learn about Wines in Tokyo

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sale of the Century Sees Petrus Go for $500!

A small and unheralded auction in northern France delivered bargains like you wouldn't believe.

Wine buyers won't get too many bargains like those on offer at a French auction this week that saw two bottles of Petrus sold off for little more than $1000.

The sale of the century took place in the northern French port of Boulogne-sur-Mer and the local newspaper La Voix Du Nord (Voice of the North) described bidders as "salivating" as the lots were announced.

And no wonder; among the lots were names like Château d'Yquem, Petrus and Château Mouton Rothschild as well as sought-after Burgundies like a 1963 Richebourg. Some of the lots were bottles seized in bank foreclosures; local wine lovers also took the opportunity to cash up their collections.

According to the newspaper, one of the most expensive lots was a case of the 1991 Mouton Rothschild, which sold for 2150 euros ($2895). The current price on Wine Searcher is $421 a bottle or $5052 a dozen. That lot was bought by a telephone bidder.

However, it was a bidder described only as "the man in a white polo shirt" by the auctioneer who snaffled up the biggest bargain of the day paying just over 800 euros – a paltry $1077 – plus a 14 percent buyer's premium for two bottles of 1973 Petrus.

Currently, Wine Searcher lists that vintage as having an average price of $1602 per bottle, or $3204 for the pair, meaning the "man in the white polo" managed to save himself more than $2000. In other words, he paid a little over one-third of what you would normally expect to pay.

The buyers weren't necessarily collectors or investors, either. One gentleman, named only as Sebastian, bid on several cases of Bordeaux.

"I like cooking and then I buy wine at auction, it is the opportunity to get great wines at a third of the commercial price. I open them with my friends," he said, as he completed the purchase of several lots of Saint-Julien to top up his cellar.

Little is known of the provenance of the wines and although they are not likely to have been counterfeits, it is equally unlikely that the bottles were checked as thoroughly as wines offered by major auction houses like Christie's or HDH. Some levels in the pre-sale photograph look suspiciously low.

Even so, looks like it's time to start reading the auction notices in the provincial French press a little more closely.

Source: http://www.wine-searcher.com/