Atlas Fine Wines | Oct 13, 2014
Over the past few months you may have seen significant press leading up to the Sotheby’s sale of a flight of wines termed to be the ‘DRC Superlot’: a 114 bottle flight of Domaine Romanée-Conti containing six bottles of each vintage, spanning 1992-2010. On Saturday, it went under the hammer in Hong Kong and achieved a world wine auction record.
The collection is very familiar to Atlas as it was sold by one of our clients. Simon Larkin originally sourced these wines when he was Head of Fine Wine at Lay & Wheeler. The collection duly followed us to Atlas and was sold from one client to another in 2011. Following Simon’s interview with Bloomberg’s Guy Collins last week, I thought some further background on the flight might be of interest.
Sourced primarily through a direct DRC allocation, Simon built the collection over a number of years. ‘At a vertical tasting, one of my clients asked me what wine – if money were no object – would I collect as a flight’ recalls Simon, ‘It had to be La Romanée-Conti…the domaine produces consistently some of the finest wines vintage in and vintage out. In short, it is the ultimate collectable wine.’ Once vintages 1992-2007 were in hand, the original client decided to sell – despite his avid interest in Burgundy. Via a client referral, Simon was introduced to a new UK-based buyer, who purchased the flight and sourced three additional vintages via Atlas, namely the 2008, 2009, 2010.
Simon has been following the DRC market for sometime and, given the advancing maturity of the flight, advised his client to sell earlier this year. In both instances, each collector had hoped to break the cases, selling five single bottle flights and drinking the sixth bottle of each vintage but, as Simon explains, he had concerns that splitting the cases would ruin the integrity of the flight and remove value. Having approached Sotheby’s about the potential sale of the collection earlier this year, Simon recommended that the lot be auctioned in Hong Kong due to the strong market for Burgundy that exists in Asia. This proved fruitful on Saturday as the collection sold for $12,555,250HK. ‘The Romané-Conti Superlot presented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire an unprecedented quantity of the world’s most desirable wine’ commented Robert Sleigh, Head of Sotheby’s Wine Asia, following the results. ‘It is only fitting that it has broken the world record to become the most valuable single wine lot ever sold at auction…’
Simon says that he has ‘always been fascinated by the idea of flights of wines across a number of vintages.’ As for the client? ‘He may well be looking at further opportunities!.’