November 12, 2019
The auction room was absolutely abuzz at Acker’s “LXXIII” Hong Kong sale on November 9th with a level of excitement rarely seen on the sales floor. A most significant thirty-two New World Records were set by the historic offering direct from the cellars of Domaine Jean-Louis Chave, shattering estimates and exceeding the pre-sale low estimate by nearly 300%. Jean-Louis himself was in Hong Kong, sharing dozens of bottles from his cellar with nearly two hundred collectors at various events throughout the week including the auction. Buyers certainly took notice and eagerly battled to the very end to own some wines from the cellars of one of the most unique, important and legendary Domaines in the world.
The momentum from Acker’s second-ever spirits only auction carried over to the following weekend, as the Top Lot of the sale was an extremely rare 189-liter 1989 Macallan Single Malt Scotch Whisky Sherry Hogshead Cask #6995 which sold for HK$4,216,000/USD$540,513, the highest price achieved by Acker for any lot this year. Domaine de la Romanee Conti, as usual, dominated the Top Ten Lots, taking six of ten positions and sweeping second through fourth place. 12 bottles of 1990 La Tâche fetched HKD$595,200/USD$76,308, while 1990 and 1991 DRC Assortment cases both realized HKD$545,600/USD$69,949. In fifth place was a lot comprised of every vintage ever released (eight bottles) of Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Ermitage Cuvée Cathelin from 1990 to 2010 that also hammered at HKD$545,600/USD$69,949. DRC returned to the charts thanks to a 1999 DRC Assortment Case that sold for HKD$471,200/USD$60,410, and 10 bottles of 1999 La Tâche sold for HKD$446,400/USD$57,231. A 12-bottle offering of 1990 Domaine Leroy Richebourg took the eighth spot at HKD$446,400/USD$57,231, while a New World Record was set for a magnum of 1971 DRC Romanée Conti next at HKD$421,600/USD$54,051. A six-bottle selection of 1989 Henri Jayer Vosne Romanée Cros Parantoux sold for HKD$396,800/USD$50,872, rounding out the Top Ten lots for the sale.
The sales floor sizzled as collectors clamored for any lot of Chave they could get their hands on. In-room, online and phone bidders took out their swords and fought to the bitter end over rarely seen bottles of Chave. A high bar for pricing was set immediately with the 2015 St. Joseph Clos Florentin, the first vintage produced from this important estate for the Chave family. Jean-Louis himself has called this wine and vineyard, “the most significant new project of my generation for the Domaine.” New World Records for Hermitage Blanc included rare vintages 1923 and 1952 hammering at HKD$94,240/USD$12,082 and HKD$79,360/USD$10,174 respectively. For the Hermitage Rouge, more New World Records were attained for a rare 1945 at HKD$188,480/USD$24,164, six bottles of 1978 at HKD198,400/USD$25,436, one magnum of 1978 at HKD$128,960/USD$16,533, and six bottles of 1991 going for HKD$158,720/USD$20,349. The 2010 Ermitage Cuvée Cathelin made its worldwide debut on the market at HKD$66,133/USD$8,478 per bottle and HKD$148,800/USD$19,076 per magnum. World record pricing continued for a rare, 6-liter bottle of 2003 Ermitage Cuvée Cathelin at HKD$347,200/USD$44,513 and 3-liter bottles of 1998 and 2000, selling for HKD$223,200/USD$28,615 and HKD$188,480/USD$24,164, the latter tripling the previous World Record. A new benchmark was set for older vintages of Cuvée Cathelin, with three bottles of the 1990 trading for HKD$322,400/USD$41,333 and three bottles of 1991 achieving HKD$272,800/USD$34,974.
“WOW! That was one of the most exciting auction experiences in my over 20 years in the business,” said Acker Chairman John Kapon. “Domaine Jean-Louis Chave is truly one of the greatest Domaines in the world, producing some of its most unique wines as well. Collectors took notice as Jean-Louis generously opened numerous wines from his cellars all week in Hong Kong. There is clearly no better expression of Hermitage or Syrah in the world, but the wines from Chave are so much more than that. They stand out as some of the greatest wines in the world. The fact that Cuvée Cathelin achieved prices equaled only by DRC’s Romanée Conti puts Chave in very rare and highly distinguished company. I would easily put any bottle of Chave next to any other great wine in the world, period.”
Jean-Louis Chave remarked, “It was a great pleasure and honor to be able to share wines from our cellars both at the auction and at dinner tables throughout the week in Hong Kong. The passion for fine wine here was truly inspiring. I would like to thank the entire Acker team for their consummate professionalism and superb hospitality. I cannot wait to come back again.”
The auction season continues for Acker with “The Birthday Auction” taking place in New York City on Thursday, November 21st at 3pm at Vaucluse. This will be followed by the last auction of 2019 in Hong Kong on Saturday, December 7th. For more information email [email protected].
Established in 1820, Acker is the oldest wine shop in America and the world’s largest fine and rare wine auction house. Since third generation wine merchant John Kapon, Chairman of Acker, started the auction business in 1998, the house has gained worldwide recognition. Acker offers a vast array of services, including cellar consultations, a deep retail inventory of fine and rare wine for immediate sale, first class wine education amenities, in-store tastings of high-end wines daily, and its ne plus ultra – fine and rare wine auctions. For more information, please visit www.ackerwines.com.