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Christie's Auction Takes Place Under the Tuscan Sun


Michèle Shah
Posted: October 12, 1999

Ever thought of buying your own Tuscan castle, complete with a winery? If so, now's your chance to get at least a piece of one: From Oct. 21 to 23, Christie's will be auctioning off the contents of the medieval Castello di Uzzano, from ancient paintings that adorned its walls to well-aged wines from its cellars.

The 1,235-acre estate is located in the heart of the Chianti Classico district, near the town of Greve. A large part of the property dates as far back as 1260, and part of the castle was restored by a famous 14th-century artist, Andrea di Cione, known as Orcagna. Christie's will also be collecting bids for the property on behalf of the owners, who will handle the negotiations personally.

Most of the wines being auctioned are Chianti Classicos from Castello di Uzzano, whose winemaking history dates back to the 13th century. Its vineyards currently encompass about 160 acres, largely planted to Sangiovese, with some Cannaiolo. Most of the available vintages, which range from 1989 back to 1924, have lain undisturbed for decades in the deep cellars beneath the Castello. The sale also includes young Chianti Classico and Chianti Classico Riserva still maturing in oak casks, as well as some traditional winemaking equipment, such as wooden presses and barrels.

The estate's furniture and artwork is also for sale, including such highlights as a pair of early 18th-century console tables appraised at $17,000 to $21,000, a rare and important 16th-century Flemish tapestry valued at $81,000 to $110,000 and a Conrad Graf fortepiano expected to sell for about $6,500 to $9,600. There is also a large assortment of porcelain dinner services, as well as historical documents, rare books, agricultural tools and even a bright red Fiat 500.

A presale viewing will be held from Oct. 17 to 20. For a catalog or more information on the auction, call Christie's Italy in Milan at (011) 3902 467 0141, in Turin at (011) 39011 561 9453 or in Rome at (011) 3906 686 3333.

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