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A Wine Sale with Sparkle

18th November 2016

A Wine Sale with Sparkle Image

The annual wines and spirits sale at Hartleys in Ilkley on November 18th was a positive success both for good prices on the rare lots, but also on the overall amount sold.  £56,000 was the total for a sale of 424 lots with only 21 (or 4 ½ %) left unsold.

The highest price, and the biggest surprise was the £2300 paid online for a magnum of 1920 Krug Private Cuvee Champagne.  The overall appearance of the single bottle was very low key with worn foil, a faded and worn but legible label, housed in a somewhat grubby and worn wooden box.  But the level was good, only 10cm below the bottle top, and there was no evidence of leakage.

The champagne section was probably one of the strongest followed sections, with much pre-sale interest focussed in this area.  There were several bottles of Dom Perignon, a bottle of 1961 reaching £360.  Krug appeared to be the favourite as another bottle of Private Cuvee dated 1961 sold for £850.

The sale started with brandy and miscellanea, with the usual spiky prices for Cognac standing out above the large job lots of bottles now well out of fashion such as Dubonnet and Noilly Prat.  A numbered decanter of Richard Hennessy 1998 Cognac in a somewhat tired presentation case and outer box sold for £1150 and a bottle of 1940 Baron de Sigognac Bas Armagnac, bottled in 2000, found £340.

This was followed by a single owner section of Cuban cigars originally collected by two previous generations.  The interest was intense particularly from the internet, and the best price here was £900 paid for a box of twenty five Ramon Allones and another of twenty five Flor de Cuba Elegantes thought to be dated prior to the Cuban arms embargo of 1958.  The best price for a single box was £520 for twenty five Romeo & Juliet Petit Coronas, while £500 was paid for twenty five Bolivar Bolivares and £480 for twenty five Punch Petit Coronas.

The whisky section was smaller than usual but included a bottle of Buchanan’s Red Seal Selected old Scotch, dated around 1920-30 which found £1050, the sort of price normally paid for rare malts.

The port section was also small but provided several chances to purchase full dozen cases including a case of Taylors 1963 at £1800 and a case of Taylors 2000 at £600.  Seven bottles of 1966 Fonseca’s found £660.

The Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rhone took up the last 166 lots of the evening and the live internet bidding continued to dominate and the actual purchases on the net worked out at 44%.  It was the older rarer odd bottles mainly in the Bordeaux which stood out in this area.

For instance two bottles of 1982 Chateau Haut Brion went above estimate at £460, three bottles of 1962 Chateau Cheval Blanc reached £320, and three bottles of 1962 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild also £320.

A curious carton of ten bottles of 1899 Chateau Latour was offered in pairs.  The bottles were all very dirty, seals very fragile but mostly in place, levels all around bottom to mid shoulder and the wine all very pale in colour.  The best price for a pair was £360 and the ten found a total between them of £1450.

Whole unopened cases were also of course available.  Twelve 2004 Chateau Montrose reached £500, twelve 1992 Les Forts de Latour £520, and twelve bottles of 1997 Hermitage “La Chapelle” delivered to us straight from the Wine Society £460.