The fall wine auction season should get off to a promising start, judging from previews released by the major U.S. auction houses. A wide array of fine and rare wines, including numerous vintage treasures and ex-château offerings, will go on the block between September and December.
Acker Merrall & Condit kicks off the season on Sept. 9 at its new Manhattan location, the Four Seasons restaurant. The auction firm is trumpeting two major private collections, each worth more than $250,000. Among the rarities on offer are a magnum of Château Cheval-Blanc 1949 (estimated at $3,500-$5,500), a magnum of Château Pétrus 1950 ($7,000-$9,000) and a bottle of P. Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle 1949 ($2,200-$3,000). At the other end of the price spectrum are a case of Château Clinet 1995 ($1,100-$1,500), a dozen bottles of Château Haut-Bergey 2000 ($550-$650) and six bottles of Martinelli Zinfandel 1999 ($300-$380).
Aulden Cellars-Sotheby's holds its first auction on Sept. 17 and 18. The sale is rife with classic case-lots from the 1982 vintage, including châteaus Lafleur and Mouton-Rothschild. On Nov. 20, the firm is auctioning the world's largest bottle, dubbed the "Maximus," which contains the equivalent of 173 standard bottles of Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Private Reserve 2001. On Dec. 4, the house will offer 56 vintages of Château Haut-Brion and 57 vintages of Château La Mission-Haut-Brion, consigned directly by the estates' owner, Domaine Clarence Dillon. Sharing the spotlight is the private cellar of John Shaw, featuring Mouton-Rothschild 1945 and Château Lafite Rothschild 1899.
Zachys' first sale at Daniel restaurant on Sept. 17 and 18 features an extensive collection from a private family. Rarities include Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche 1945 and 1962, full cases of Château Le Pin and DRC Romanée-Conti, and California classics such as Simi Cabernet Sauvignon 1935 and Heitz Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1968 and 1974. Zachys' inaugural Los Angeles auction with Wally's Wine & Spirits will take place at the Peninsula Hotel on Oct. 8 and 9. It includes treasures such as Lafite 1784, 1799, 1800 and 1811, Château d'Yquem 1784 and 1811 and Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon 1941.
Morrell & Co. stages its first auction on Sept. 18 at Bloomberg L.P.'s headquarters at 499 Park Ave. (The auction will also be simulcast on Bloomberg's terminals and on Morrell's Web site.) The sale's showstopper may prove to be a bottle of Lafite 1865, which was recorked at the château in 1953. Other contenders include a salamanzar of Château Léoville Poyferré 1900 and a bottle of Château Latour 1959. Several scarce large-format Barolos also go on the block..
NYWinesChristie's will auction the 35,000-bottle cellar of the Hermitage Inn in Vermont, which held Wine Spectator's Grand Award, on Sept. 30 and Oct. 4. Valued at more than $1 million, the collection is being sold because of a change in the inn's ownership. The first session focuses on collectible wines, while the second features ready-to-drink wines that will be offered without a reserve.