This holiday season an exceptional array of fine, rare and even impossible-to-come-by wines are going on the auction block.
On Dec. 3, Sotheby's in London is showcasing historic offerings from the Massandra Collection, the cellar of the legendary Russian winery built in the 19th century to provide wines for Czar Nicholas II. Massandra is predominantly known for producing sweet wines, in styles such as Sherry, Madeira, Muscat and Tokaji. Many of the 400 lots on the block are from the imperial era (some bottles bear the czar's personal seal), when the talented Prince Lev Sergervich Golitzin oversaw winemaking. A five-bottle lot of his fancifully named "Honey of Altae Pastures" from the 1880 vintage is estimated at $2,200 to $2,960 per bottle.
Nearly 200 scarce lots from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti are the focus of Zachys' holiday auction on Dec. 3 and 4. The highlight is a 1999 DRC Romanée-Conti superlot consisting of one methuselah, one jeroboam, six magnums and 12 bottles; it is estimated at $100,000 to $200,000. Also on the block are a rare magnum of Romanée-Conti 1971 and full cases of the 1995, both in magnum and 750ml formats. DRC Montrachet abounds, with examples from 1987, 1988 and all the principal vintages of the 1990s. Other highlights include six magnums of Henri Jayer Vosne-Romanée Cros Parantoux 1990 and a jeroboam of Château Latour 1961.
On Dec. 4, Aulden Cellars-Sotheby's in New York is featuring more than 5,000 bottles consigned directly by the Domaine Clarence Dillon, owner of Bordeaux châteaus Haut-Brion and La Mission-Haut-Brion. More than 50 vintages, from 1920 to 2000, of Haut-Brion and La Mission are on offer. Additionally, Mähler-Besse, the famed Bordeaux négociant, is consigning six bottles of Haut-Brion 1949, case lots of the Haut-Brion 1955 and 1959 and a dozen bottles of the scarce 1961 La Mission. Highlights from a private collector's cellar include Haut-Brion 1928, La Mission-Haut-Brion 1929 and 21 bottles of the celebrated Château Mouton-Rothschild 1945.
Acker Merrall & Condit is offering an array of hard-to-come-by vintage treasures on Dec. 11 in New York. A 38-lot European consignment includes bottles of châteaus Latour 1921 and Cheval-Blanc 1945 and 1948, plus a magnum of Mouton-Rothschild 1947. From another collection comes four bottles of Conterno Barolo 1955 and a case of Marqués de Murrietta 1959. There are also DRC assortments from 1997, 1998 and 2000. A large array of Armand Rousseau, Comte Georges de Vogüé and Roumier Burgundies, all purchased upon release, round out the list.
Christie's has multiple auctions coming up. On Dec. 2, in London, the house is holding a single-owner sale with 1,000 lots of top Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rhône from the 1980s and 1990s. On Dec. 9 and 10, Christie's London conducts its "finest and rarest" sale, consisting of 2,000 lots. One highlight is a private Parisian cellar with an emphasis on Château Latour, including multicase lots from the magnificent 1945 vintage.
On Dec. 15 and 16, NYWinesChristie's is offering more than 100 lots of Spanish wines and historic Sherry shipped directly from producers in Spain. The lots include Vega Sicilia verticals starting with the 1942 vintage and Marqués de Riscal from the 1930s and 1940s. There's also a collection of 19th and 20th century Madeira from the cellar of private collector Dr. Robert Maliner, plus a bottle of Tokaji Eszencia from the celebrated 1811 vintage.
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