Two bottles of 1945 Burgundy set records at auction in New York CREDIT: SOTHEBY'S
Abottle of 1945 Romanee-Conti wine fetched a record-smashing $558,000 (£424,000) at an auction held at Sotheby's in New York Saturday, which saw two bottles break the previous record.
The final price, including taxes and commissions, was 17 times the auction house's $32,000 upper estimate for the fine French wine.
Romanee-Conti is widely considered the best Burgundy wine, and is one of the world's most prestigious producers.
Its domaine, in the Cote de Nuits region, spans less than four acres (two hectares), producing between 5,000 and 6,000 bottles per year.
The bottle is one of 600 produced in 1945, just before the vines were pulled up for replanting.
A few minutes after Saturday's sale, another 1945 Romanee-Conti was sold for $496,000.
The previous record for a standard wine bottle was held by an 1869 Chateau Lafite Rothschild, sold in Hong Kong in 2010 for $233,000.
This bottle of 1926 Macallan, with a label illustrated by Peter Blake sold for $843,200 - a new US record CREDIT: SOTHEBY'S
But of all sizes, a $310,700 3-litre 1945 Mouton-Rothschild scooped the previous record at a 2007 auction in New York.
Saturday's lots came from the personal collection of Robert Drouhin, who from 1957 to 2003 directed wine producer Maison Joseph Drouhin, one of Burgundy's most prominent.
Elsewhere at the auction, a bottle of 60-year-old 1926 Scotch whisky fetched $843,200 - failing to break a $1.2 million record set in October.
Founded in 1924, The Macallan distillery, of Carigellachie, northern Scotland, produced just 40 such bottles in 1986. Unlike wine, whisky stops maturing once bottled.
Twelve of them, including that sold Saturday, had labels illustrated by Peter Blake, who designed the Beatles "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album cover.
Three of the 1926 whiskies - one with Blake's illustrations, and two others featuring artwork by Italian Valerio Adami - fetched more than $1 million each at auction over the past six months.
The 2016 harvest in Bordeaux “is clearly an excellent vintage” and on a par in terms of quality with 2005 and 2009, according to Philippe Dhalluin, the managing director of Mouton Rothschild.
Although he said that he would “wait and see what the critics will say,” Dhalluin, who has overseen winemaking at the first growth property since late 2003, told the drinks business last week that “everyone was very happy with the vintage.”
Continuing, he said that “it is clearly a great vintage” across the Mouton Rothschild estates – which includes Pauillac-properties Clerc Milon and d’Armailhac as well as, of course, the famous first growth.
He said that he could confidently state this because “I have the analytics”, noting that sugar levels were good, producing alcohol levels in the wine of “slightly over 13%, which is pretty high for our estates”, while the vintage has produced wines “with a lot of tannins, they are, as you say in English, creamy tannins.”
Speaking further about the tannins, he said that 2016 had produced the highest level of polyphenols ever recorded at Mouton Rothschild, before noting that the property has been monitoring polyphenol levels for over 30 years.
Meanwhile, he described the wines as “very juicy, with a lot of flesh; they are rich without being over-alcoholic,” commenting too that the wines had a “very good freshness and balance”.
Looking back over the course of 2016, he said the year was “bi-polar”, beginning with record-breaking levels of rainfall, before the weather changed dramatically from the end of June, when extremely dry conditions set in, creating near-drought conditions in the region throughout July and August.
Due to the large amounts of rainfall in the first part of the year there was enough ground water to support the vines throughout the arid summer, meaning that the yields in 2016 are in fact slightly higher than the previous year, when the vineyards produced as little as 35 hectolitres per hectare on average.
Having described Bordeaux 2016 as “between 2005 and 2009 in style”, he added that the latest harvest was “clearly” on a par in terms of quality with both these critically-acclaimed vintages.
Drawing a comparison with the advent of two consecutive excellent but stylistically different vintages in Bordeaux with 2009 and 2010, he said that 2016 “had more density than 2015, even if 2015 is exceptional too, so maybe people will prefer the 2016: it will be like 2009 and 2010.”
Due to the extremely wet first half of the year, Dhalluin admitted that the Bordelais had initially had very low expectations for the vintage.
“This vintage is a surprise for everyone,” he summed up.
Famed Spanish winery, Vega Sicilia, has set its sights on Myanmar’s wine market with a newly formed distribution agreement with Singapore-based Bordeaux Liquid Gold (BLG), following the country’s loosened grip on wine imports.
This will be the first time the Spanish ‘first growth’ has officially shipped its wines to the Southeastern Asian country after years of trade sanctions.
Starting in 2015, the country’s Ministry of Commerce opened the door for wine imports by giving out legal licenses to companies to import wines. By the end of 2016, about 25 companies were permitted to import wines, reported The Myanmar Times.
“The social and economic situation in Myanmar has improved sharply in the last years, however, coming into the premium wine market is still challenging,” Pablo Álvarez, CEO of the winery, told dbHK, commenting on the entrance.
“Nevertheless, we consider this is the perfect moment to bring in our wines and we, together with BLG, will have a good welcome for sure,” he continued.
Compared with neighbouring countries like Thailand, where wine consumption takes up less than 1% of the country’s total alcohol consumption, Myanmar’s wine demand is slightly more robust, although still dwarfed by more popular beer and whisky, accounting for around 6% of the country’s total alcohol consumption, according to a report by World Bank in 2010.
Beer alone, however, makes up more than 80% of the country’s beverage consumption and Euromonitor has predicted that Myanmar’s beer market will almost double in value from US$375 million in 2015 to US$675 million by 2018.
One of the most iconic Spanish wineries, Vega Sicilia was founded in 1864, and has become part of the Alvarez Family since 1982.
It has steadily grown over time with the addition of a few more estates to become Tempos Vega Sicilia including flagship Vega Sicilia, Macán, Pintia, Alion in Spain and Tokaj-Oremus in Hungary.
The wine dinner, a first in Malaysia, featured a selection of fine wines and champagne from Baron Philippe de Rothschild S.A. — Pictures by Zuraneeza Zulkifli and courtesy of Bordeaux Liquid Gold
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 — For the first time in Malaysia, the prestigious Baron Philippe de Rothschild S.A. recently hosted a dinner showcasing their fine wine collection.
It is a special honour for Malaysia to be selected as only three to five dinners are held worldwide on an annual basis.
In 1853, Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild purchased Brane-Mouton in Pauillac and renamed it Mouton Rothschild. In 1922, his great grandson Baron Phillipe took over and created Mouton Cadet in 1933 which has now been elevated to the world’s leading Bordeaux AOC brand.
Baron Philippe de Rothschild S.A. Commercial Director Hervé Gouin with a selection of their wines and champagne.
In 1970, they purchased Château Clerc Milon and Mouton Rothschild was elevated to First Growth status in 1973. They also have created a dry white wine, Aile d’Argent and Le Petit Mouton.
Joint ventures have also been created such as Opus One with California-based Robert Mondavi and Almaviva with Concha y Toro, in Chile. In 1998, they purchased Domaine de Baronarques in the Pays d’Oc.
Since 1945, there has been strong ties between Mouton and the arts. Each year, wine labels have been illustrated by great artists such as Dali, Picasso, Andy Warhol, making them highly sought-after collectors items.
A sweet end to the dinner with a cherry tartlet topped with crumble and served with Jivara chocolate creme that was paired with Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2005.
In 1962, they opened the Museum of Wine in Art on their premises which is a leading tourist attraction as it houses a collection of precious objects celebrating the wine.
The Malaysian dinner was hosted by Baron Philippe de Rothschild S.A. Commercial Director Hervé Gouin who believes in the potential for their wine in Malaysia. “I think the market has started to be more open,” he said.
In Malaysia, they have partnered with Bordeaux Liquid Gold, who has been distributing their wines for 10 years. Bordeaux Liquid Gold Chief Executive Officer Julian Poh tells us they have also been awarded exclusive distribution rights for Champagne Barons De Rothschild and Domaine de Baronarques, that has been labelled as a “golden opportunity” by Gouin.
He also adds that they selected the company because, “Firstly, it’s because we trust them. It’s important to trust people in this business. We expect that the Malaysian market will grow and we have the right people to introduce the brand to the market.”
A creamy foie gras terrine topped milky brioche and was served with lemon confit and berries that was paired with Chateau Clerc Milon 2009 and Chateau Petit Mouton 2007 in magnum (left). The appetiser was seared scallops, crushed peas, black olives with cream sauce that was paired with Domaine de Baronarques 2009 (right).
For the wine pairing dinner held at The Library, Ritz-Carlton KL, they brought out a selection of their classical wines like Château Mouton Rothschild, Château Clerc Milon and Château Petit Mouton.
“We have a nice selection of different vintages and different estates. It’s a small travel around the French wine culture in the Pauillac region, south-east of France,” said Gouin.
The dinner also debuted two interesting wines from the Domaine de Baronarques, a small steep sloped estate in the Limoges region at the south of France, purchased by the Rothschild family.
Salut! (from left to right): Bordeaux Liquid Gold Chief Executive Officer and Baron Philippe de Rothschild S.A. Commercial Director Hervé Gouin.
“They invested money to replant and readapt a selection of vines to produce a top red wine and white wine,” explained Gouin. What makes this vineyard unique is its double climate. “You have the influence of the Bordeaux climate and the Mediterranean climate,” said Gouin.
Wine aficionados will appreciate the Chardonnay with its elegant taste and the aromas of pear, lemon and hawthorn. “It’s a top Chardonnay with the ambition to compete with the other labels. It’s a very concentrated Chardonnay with a lot of acidity, very elegant and extremely mineral,” explained Gouin.
The other is a classical red wine Domaine de Baronarques with a deep bright garnet red colour and the aroma of blackcurrants, notes of cedar and eucalyptus. Gouin also goes on to explain that in the varietal mix for the wine, you have more of the Mediterranean influence with the Syrah and because of the appellation, there is more of 50 per cent of Merlot. The blend also contains a top Cabernet Sauvignon.
“In terms of how we produce the wine, everything is done exactly like Mouton, in the Bordeaux style,” said Gouin. This includes picking the grapes by hand he says, putting it whole into small baskets of 12 kilograms, bringing it carefully to the cellar followed by fermentation and maturation in the oak casks.
The exclusive wine dinner was enjoyed by a group of wine connoisseurs.
Even the same technical team from Mouton is in charge of the estate. “It is like a Bordeaux classic except it’s in Limoges and we have a combination of climates,” he said. Since its introduction to the Malaysian market about six months ago, the two wines have been incredibly well received, according to Poh.
For dinner, fine French food was paired with the wine and champagne. It kicked off with Champagne de Rothschild Blancs de Blanc Grand Cru in magnum, which has the bouquet of softly toasted vanilla beans.
The Champagne De Rothschild Vintage 2008 was also served and boasted an exceptional finesse. Le Chardonnay de Domaine de Baronsques 2014 was paired with the amuse bouche of cured salmon, shaved fennel, and avruga caviar where its freshness complemented the creamy taste of the appetiser.
Cured salmon, shaved fennel, avruga caviar was served with Le Chardonnay de Domaine de Baronarques 2014.
For the Domaine de Baronarques 2009, this was paired with an appetiser of seared scallops, crushed pea, black olive and cream sauce.
The second appetiser of foie gras terrine that topped a toasted milky brioche paired with lemon confit and berries, saw a tasting of Château Clerc Milon 2009 and Château Petit Mouton 2007 in magnum.
The Château Clerc Milon wine has a nose of black fruit mingled with floral, mineral and liquorice notes. Drinking it gives you a highly refined rich, elegant wine with well integrated tannins.
In contrast, Petit Mouton which is made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes has more floral notes and a variety of spice.
Bordeaux Liquid Gold holds the exclusive licence to dstribute the Champagne Barons de Rothschild in Malaysia (left). The dinner introduced the wines from Domaine de Baronarques that was purchased in 1998 by Baron Philippe de Rothschild S.A. (right).
For the main course of rib eye steak served with pomme puree, asparagus, baby carrots and thyme jus, this was paired with two exceptional Château Mouton Rothschild wines, vintages 1998 and 2001.
Comparing the two vintages, the 1998 has juicy, succulent tannins with concentrated blackcurrant and blackberry flavours while the 2001 vintage displays complex fruits, rich in ripe berry fruit aromas like bilberry and blackcurrant with some pleasant smoky notes.
The meal ended with Château Mouton Rothschild 2005 paired with a cheese platter and dessert of a cherry tartlet topped with crumble and served with a Jivara chocolate creme.
Northern Rhône estate Paul Jaboulet Aîné has secured distribution for its core range in Malaysia through Bordeaux Liquid Gold it has been announced.
The distributor will the exclusive agent for the winery's'Vins de Vignerons'range, which includes the Côtes du Rhône Parallele 45 label as well as other cuvées from Crozes Hermitage, Cornas and St Joseph.
Jaboulet's Vins de Domaines wines such as its Hermitage La Chapelle, La Maison Bleue and Crozes Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert will also be handled by BLG.