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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Emma Guinness

Rare bottles of champagne and wine worth up to $140,000 for sale at Sotheby’s first ever dedicated auction


Some of the world’s rarest bottles of champagne will go under the hammer tomorrow, as Sotheby’s holds the first ever auction dedicated solely to some of the most exquisite vintages ever produced.

The one-of-a-kind champagne collection come from the famed collector and billionaire businessman Pierre Chen’s wine cellar.

Described as a “visionary” collector, Sotheby’s has described the bottles as belonging to “the most esteemed collection in the world.”

The auction will be separated into two parts, beginning with “The Ultimate Champagnes” on 20 June, which will be the first auction of its kind devoted entirely to champagne.

Sotheby’s wrote of the champagnes: “A treasure trove of the greatest champagnes ever produced with a depth of stock that is unparalleled on the market, the sale is particularly rich in the legendary vintages of the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s – pristine examples of which can be extremely difficult to source.

“Beyond the great names like Krug, Dom Pérignon, Salon, and Roederer, this sale reflects Mr Chen’s inquisitive and visionary approach to collecting.

This collection of Krug bottles of champagne dating back as far as 1959 will be up for sale
This collection of Krug bottles of champagne dating back as far as 1959 will be up for sale (Sothebys)

“Long before Taittinger’s Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs became a market favourite, Pierre Chen recognized its potential. His foresight is also evident in the remarkable depth of Bollinger’s Vieilles Vignes Françaises, spanning a wide array of vintages.”

The champagne auction will be followed up on 2 July by the “Live in the Vines” event for wine which will be hosted at Couvent des Cordeliers in Beaune, a walled town in the winemaking town of Burgundy.

The bottles sold at this action will also be from the billionaire’s collection, which was assembled over four decades, and could see some items go under the hammer for $140,000.

This is not the first time that bottles from the esteemed collection have hit the market, and in November of last year, the first lot of wines from Chen’s cellar sold for a combined total of $16.8 million in a two-day action at the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong.

Interestingly, the most expensive item in the collection is a bottle of red wine from 1999, which will set the buyer back as much as $26,000 a bottle ($52,000 for a lot of two).

Describing its vineyard, Sotheby’s wrote: “Cros Parantoux is just 1.01 hectares, one of the smallest in the whole of the Côte d’Or, facing east, high on the slope rising from the western side of Vosne-Romanée. The altitude and easterly orientation mean that it is a slightly cooler vineyard than others, but there is plenty of sun, allowing the grapes to ripen more slowly and retain the natural acidity that gives the wines of Cros Parantoux their great longevity.

“Although Henri Jayer began replanting Cros Parantoux in 1945, it was not until 1978 that he felt the vines were mature enough to bottle the wine under the Premier Cru name.”

The auctions come from billionaie Pierre Chen’s wine cellar
The auctions come from billionaie Pierre Chen’s wine cellar (Sothebys)

The most expensive champagne is a 1966 Dom Pérignon, which came from a “season marked by warmth and dryness, which facilitated optimal ripening of the grapes.”

Its description reads: “This vintage offers a symphony of flavours, with ripe apples and pears mingling harmoniously with bright citrus zest and subtle notes of toasted almonds. A delicate hint of honey adds depth to this luxurious palate, with a silky and creamy texture.”

The magnum, which is being sold in a singular lot, is worth an estimated $8,000 to $11,000.

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