Hart Davis Hart, America's largest wine auction house, opened 2011 with a highly-charged auction of finest and rarest wines, selling 100% of lots and posting $4.6m in sales against a pre-sale auction estimate of $2.9m-$4.3m, and achieving a 10% increase in prices over December.
Attendees filled the auction room in downtown Chicago to near capacity, competing actively with absentee bidders from 40 states as well as Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.
"We were delighted to welcome a room full of bidders over the weekend, and based on the results of this auction we're very excited for 2011," commented Hart Davis Hart Vice Chairman Michael Davis.
The auction was held at TRU restaurant in downtown Chicago, and bidders in attendance were treated to special tastings paired with signature dishes including 1991 Dominus served alongside a vanilla-roasted fig tarte tatine, and the 1986, 1993, and 1994 Château Haut-Brion paired with foie gras-stuffed prunes and an Earl Grey-smoked Kampachi with red currant reduction.
Classified Bordeaux continued to trend upward, most notably in the top vintages of the past two decades. Several cases of 1996 Château Lafite Rothschild (estimate $19,000-$24,000) reached $26,290 each, and a case of 2000 Château Lafite (estimate $20,000-$30,000) brought in $33,460.
A six-bottle lot of 2000 Château Pétrus (estimate $17,000-$26,000) and one case of 1982 Château Latour (estimate $13,000-$19,000) each sold for $26,290, while the top lot of the day was a case of 1982 Château Lafite, which realized $65,725 against an estimate of $38,000-$55,000.
As we've mentioned before, Chateau Lafite is generally producing impressive prices at auction as it is popular with the growing Chinese markets, which makes great vintages like 1982 Château Lafite strong investments. Sotheby's wine expert Serena Sutcliffe previously noted:
"In 2009, it has kept its intensely aromatic nose of enormous concentration - amazing when one considers the high yield of the vintage."
Burgundy collectors were very active as well, with six bottles of 2000 Romanée-Conti, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (estimate $22,000-$32,000) selling for $50,190, and a six bottle offering of 2001 Montrachet, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (estimate $10,000-$15,000) fetching $26,290.
The auction was brimming with rare Californian wines, including a remarkable range of Harlan Estate and Screaming Eagle. Highlights included a three bottle lot of 1997 Screaming Eagle (estimate $5,500-$8,500), which sold for $8,963.
Hart Davis Hart's next auction, entitled "The Lafite Auction," will be held on March 19th. This multi-million dollar sale will exclusively feature the wines of Château Lafite Rothschild. It will be the world's largest selection of Lafite ever to be offered at auction.
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