Sotheby's wine sale over the weekend was, as expected, dominated by one wine in particular - the 11.4 hectare vineyard which offers Château Pétrus. "Pétrus," Sotheby's Master of Wine Serena Sutcliffe notes, "does not taste like other Bordeaux - it is not 'classic' but stupendously original, full of oriental spice box flavours which unfold endlessly."
The top vintages in the sale had bidders' mouths watering, and all surpassed their expectations:
Château Pétrus 1998 was represented in an early 12-bottle lot (52 out of 713), and the vintage is particularly renowned for its truly exceptional dark chocolate and black fruit taste. It eased past its $20,000-30,000 estimate to sell for $36,300.
La Tache 1990 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti was the only non-Petrussian wine to make its presence felt in the sale with a 12-bottle case of the famous vintage with its scent of vanilla pods and blackberries slipping past its $30,000-50,000 listing to achieve $51,425.
The most expensive lot overall was a 12-bottle lot of Petrus 1982, with the sweet, aniseedy wine passing its $40,000-60,000 pricing to reach $66,550.
However, the most extraordinary sale must have been that of the Château Pétrus 1961. It is a legendary wine, described by Sutcliffe as follows:
"Incredible curranty nose with a slight affinity with Port. So rich and "earthy", in a totally refined way. Damp earth after rain. Amazing, almost "Porty" wine on the palate. Yet such fresh fruit at the end. Immense."
The Pétrus 1961 lot was estimated at $25,000-35,000 - but that was just for two magnums, and it smashed that listing anyway, achieving a stunning $48,400. A reminder that the very most valuable wines tend to make the very best investments in the end.
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