Millions dished out for rare Burgundy at Geneva wine auction

22nd May 2016, Comments 0 comments

A Geneva auction house raked in more than $4 million Sunday for a collection of "grand crus" from Burgundy's renowned Domaine de la Romanee-Conti wine estate.

The 1,407 bottles that went under the hammer beat expectations and sold for a total of 4.2 million Swiss francs ($4.3 million, 3.8 million euros), with a single three-litre jeroboam of 1999 Romanee-Conti snatched up for 60,000 Swiss francs by an anonymous buyer.

Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, which takes its name from its most famous vineyard, is widely considered to be one of the world's finest wine producers.

"We're very happy with the results," the head of the Baghera Wines auction house Michael Ganne told AFP.

Stored in perfect conditions for the past 15 years at the heavily-guarded Geneva Freeports customs-free zone, the bottles belong to a single investor who has asked to remain anonymous.

The collection is "unique" and "historic", Ganne said ahead of the sale, explaining that it is extremely rare for more than 100 bottles from the prestigious estate to be auctioned at once.

Some 50 people had gathered at the Geneva auction house, but much of the activity happened on the phone or through written orders, mainly from wealthy Asian buyers, Ganne said.

About 85 percent of the bottles presented were snapped up, he said.

Seven grand crus produced between 1952 and 2011 at the producer's Romanee Conti, La Tache, Richebourg, Romanee-Saint-Vivant, Grands Echezeaux, Echezeaux, and Montrachet vineyards were sold off in 266 batches.

In addition to the jeroboam of 1999 Romanee-Conti, the top lots included 12 bottles of an 1988 Romanee-Conti bought for 144,000 Swiss francs.

Grand crus -- literally 'great growth' in French and indicating wine from France's best vineyards -- produced by the tiny Domaine de la Romanee-Conti are so expensive largely because they are so rare.

Only 200 bottles are expected to be made there this year, and more than 100,000 people are on a waiting list to acquire a single bottle, Ganne said.

The second half of Sunday's auction offered up around 3,000 bottles of grand crus from Bordeaux, as well as American wines, vintage champagne and Cuban cigars, which together sold for 2.0 million Swiss francs.

© 2016 AFP

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