As Europe nursed its wounds right after the Second World Warâ€™s end in 1945, top Burgundy producer Romanee-Conti made just 600 bottles of dark red nectar before pulling up its vines for replanting.
Yesterday (Oct. 13), two of those 600 were sold in separate auction bids for a total of just over $1 million at Sothebys in New York. Three more bottles from the 1937 vintage went for a total of $930,000.
All five bottles beat the previous record for most expensive bottle of wine of any size, a $304,375 six-liter bottle of Cheval-Blanc 1947, sold in Geneva in 2010. (The records donâ€™t include bottles auctioned for charity.) The two 1945 bottles also eclipsed the previous record for a standard-sized wine bottleâ€”$233,000 at a Hong Kong auction in 2010.
The highest bid was for the first bottle from 1945, which went for $558,000. Thatâ€™s 17 times more expensive than Sothebysâ€™ upper estimate of $32,000. A few minutes later, the second bottle of 1945 sold for $496,000. Three magnums of the 1937 were then sold for $310,000 each, having been given an upper estimate of $40,000.
The total collection, from the personal cellar of wine producer Robert Drouhin, sold for $7.3 million. Nine of its 100 bottles went for six-figure sums.
The 1945 vintage is â€œrare and wonderful,â€ Serena Sutcliffe, head of Sothebys international wine department, wrote in the lot notes. â€œThe best bottles are so concentrated and exotic, with seemingly everlasting powerâ€”a wine at peace with itself.â€
15 Oct 2018