Tag Archives: Chateau de Fesles Bonnezeaux

Bonhams 27 May 2010 Auction — Quick Results

28 May

Bonhams LogoLet’s see how the lots I mentioned in my preview of Bonhams’s Hong Kong auction did.  A list of the sale results for all lots is available at the Bonhams website.  All prices below include the hammer price plus the buyer’s premium of, I think, 15%, but are exclusive of taxes; all currency conversions are to the nearest whole dollar and based on today’s rate:

Potential Bargains Mentioned:

  • Lot 104, D. Mortet Clos de Vougeot 1990 (2 btls.), Estimate HK$3,100 — Not sold. Either the reserve wasn’t reached or the lot was withdrawn.  Whatever the case, this is no loss to my mind as I said in my preview: “Two-hundred bucks [a bottle] is a lot of money to pay for good but not great wine.”
  • Lot 62, Chateau Beychevelle 2005 (12 btls.), Estimate HK$7,000 — Not sold. Second suggestion in a row that the auctioneer couldn’t entice any bidder, or enough bidders, to show interest in.  Seeing this makes me think that Hong Kong wine auctions may be all about the big names and not so much about value shopping.  In which case, placing a low bid online prior to the auction to see if you can sneak away with a cheap lot or two may be a worthwhile strategy for bargain hunters.
  • Lot 155, Chateau de Fesles Bonnezeaux La Chapelle 1990 (4 btls.), Estimate HK$3,100 — Sold for HK$2,618 (US$336).  This Loire dessert wine sold for significantly below its maximum estimate and at a substantial discount to what the one retailer that carries the wine lists it for.  Of course, you could’ve gotten it much cheaper in 2003 from Sotheby’s, but that’s seven years of cellaring that you didn’t have to worry about at least.

Blockbusters Mentioned:

  • Lot 1, Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2000 (12 btls.), Estimate HK$195,000 — Sold for HK$166,600 (US$21,392).  A lot of money yes, but 15% below its maximum estimate and cheaper than it can be bought almost anywhere in the world.
  • Lots 2-3, Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1982 (12 btls. per lot), Per Lot Estimate HK$312,000 — Sold for HK$267,750 and HK$309,400 (US$34,381 and US$39,729 respectively).  I’m not sure what accounts for the US$5,000 difference in price between these two lots.  The online version of the auction catalog doesn’t provide any description of the lots in question beyond the year, chateau, and number of bottles, so I can only wonder what was said in the printed catalog about fill levels, label condition, possible seepage, and the like.  The answer may be more psychological than that, though.  Bidders saw Lot no. 2 go for a good deal less than its maximum estimate, they knew they wanted this classic Lafite, and they bid more than intended trying to get it.  Prosaic, I know.
  • Lot 52, Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2000 (1 btl.), Estimate HK$35,900 — Sold for HK$35,700 (US$4,587).  Great producer, great vintage, still a ton of money for a bottle of wine, especially a singleton.  I hope some rich person bought this to drink.  Still, the winning bidder paid almost US$300 less for this bottle of Lafite than it costs in Hong Kong, which means two things to me: he/she got a good deal in a relative sense and Lafite is very, very expensive no matter how you buy it.
  • Lot 215, Romanee Conti 1996 (1 Methuselah), Estimate HK$585,000 — Not sold. The outliers, both cheap and expensive, did not sell through very well in this auction.  Makes me wonder if the Bonhams’s staff is properly valuing their lots.
  • Lot 217, Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1982 (12 btls.), Estimate HK$312,000 — Sold for HK$380,800 (US$48,899).  Well.  I guess the bidders who didn’t get lots nos. 2 and 3 went a little nuts.

Value Lots I Missed Originally:

Domaine Nicolas Rossignol Logo

  • Lots 83-86, Mixed Nicolas Rossignol Lots (12 btls. per lot), Per Lot Estimate HK$3,900 — Sold for HK$3,332 per lot (US$428 per lot).  In my wine auction experience, both live and online, it always pays to keep your eyes on mixed lots if you are looking to buy wine to drink.  These four mixed lots of fine Pinot Noir from Burgundian winemaker Nicolas Rossignol prove the point.  Each of these lots had two bottles per lot of the same six N. Rossignol wines from 2006: Volnay Les Caillerets, Volnay Chevret, Volnay, Pommard Chanlins, Pommard, and Beaune Rouge.  Prices of these wines are all over the board, with some averaging as little as US$17 or so at retail, but others are much more expensive, up to US$50 to $60 per bottle.  What is more, Spurrier in Decanter said that N. Rossignol has “a superb, really exceptional range of 2006s” that are coming into their prime drinking window now.  At $36 per bottle, it is worth to take a chance of these lots at this price.  (Interestingly, lot no. 87, which was identical in composition to these lots, sold for much more at HK$4,165.)

Bonhams 27 May 2010 Auction — Preview

20 May

A mixed lot of DRC, available in this auction by Bonhams HK as Lot 17 (Estimate: HK$124,800)

House: Bonhams

Date: 27 May 2010, 19:00 HKT

Title: Fine and Rare Wines

Live Location(s): Hong Kong (JW Marriott Hotel, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway)

Web: http://www.bonhams.com/asi/auction/18460/

Phone: +852 3607 0004

Buyer’s Premium: 15% + VAT*

Shipping: UK – ₤8 + VAT per case, ₤16 + VAT minimum charge, ₤80 + VAT maximum charge; ROW – “please ask for a quotation.”*

Storage: 7 days free from date of sale, £3 + VAT per lot per day thereafter*

* This information is from Bonhams’ UK “Notice to Bidders,” and I’m not sure if it applies to Hong Kong sales as well.  As a PDF of the specific auction catalog was not available online and as I couldn’t find anything specific to Hong Kong, please contact Bonhams directly to be sure of your ancillary costs.

Total Lots: 280

Wine Distribution: Red Bordeaux 25% (71 lots), Red Burgundy 23% (63 lots), Red California 11% (32 lots), Red Australia 10% (29 lots), White Burgundy 8% (21 lots), Red Italian 5% (15 lots), Red Rhone 4% (10 lots), White Bordeaux 3% (9 lots), Champagne 3% (8 lots)

Most Expensive Estimate: Lot 215, Romanee Conti 1996 (1 Methuselah), HK$585,000

Least Expensive Estimate: Lot 104, D. Mortet Clos de Vougeot 1990 (2 btls.), HK$3,100 and Lot 155, Chateau de Fesles Bonnezeaux La Chapelle 1990 (4 btls.), HK$3,100

Potential Bargains (Using QPR or Quality to Price Ratio):

Let’s look first at the two lots with the lowest estimates that are listed at HK$3,100 each, which is equivalent to about US$400.  Wine Consigners, a close-out retailer based in Beverly Hills, has the Mortet Clos de Vougeot at US$194 per bottle, which is a bit less than the maximum estimate for the two bottles of the same in Lot 104.  Parker gave this offering a 90, and Wine Spectator rated it twice in the mid-80s, which are good but not great scores.  Two-hundred bucks is a lot of money to pay for good but not great wine.  Unless you are a Côte de Nuits fetishist or particularly like Denis Mortet’s wines, at almost US$200 a bottle, this doesn’t really offer good value to my mind.

The Chateau de Fesles in Lot 155 couldn’t be more different than Mortet’s Burgundian Pinot Noir in Lot 104, notwithstanding their lots’ identical estimated price point.  A sweet Chenin Blanc dessert wine from the Loire, the super-cuvée La Chapelle had a tremendous year in 1990 according to the Wine Doctor when he tasted it 16 years later.  “Deliciously fresh, and an amazing length, building to a crescendo some time after, and then slowly fading. Excellent.”  Chateau de Fesles no longer makes the La Chapelle, so this offering is legitimately rare and is in its prime drinking window.  The only bottle of the 1990 Fesles La Chapelle I could find online at retail was being sold in Australia by the Ultimo Wine Centre for AU$149.95 per bottle (approximately US$125).  Back in 2003, Sotheby’s sold a 6 bottle lot of the 1990 La Chapelle for ₤92 (and two other six bottles lots in that auction for ₤80), so that should give you an idea of how much this wine has appreciated in value over the intervening years.  If sweet wines are your thing, Lot 155 is worth bidding on, especially if you can get it for under the maximum estimate.

Although it does not have one of the very lowest estimates in this auction, I might look at Lot 62 of a 12 bottle case of 2005 Chateau Beychevelle as an opportunity to get a good value.  Beychevelle is a fourth growth estate in St. Julien that Parker says “too often does not live up to its pedigree.”  But this reputation is something savvy bidders can use their advantage, as it means that Beychevelle is often well-priced compared to other Bordeaux chateaux.  Especially since 2005 is regarded as one of the best vintages in memory, and the experts agree that the 2005 Beychevelle is a fine, if not spectacular, wine, it is a good target for value bidders.  If you could get this lot at a price in the middle of the HK$5,900 to 7,000 estimate range, say for HK$6,500 (US$833), you’d be getting a deal considering that the average price for a bottle at retail is US$82.


There are plenty of high priced Bordeaux lots in this auction – see, for example, Lots 1-3 that are all of Lafite and all estimated to sell for between US$18,000 and $40,000 per lot – but the most extravagant lot has to be the Methuselah of 1996 Domaine de la Romanee Conti of Lot 215 that is estimated to sell for up to HK$585,000 (equivalent to about US$75,000).  This huge 6 liter bottle is from the Romanée-Conti vineyard and this namesake wine is beloved by collectors and drinkers alike, as are all the varieties of 1996 DRC.  Whether that love is strong enough to merit a bid on wine that may cost upwards of US$5,000 per Burgundy-sized glass (415ml) is another question.

As suggested above, Chateau Lafite Rothschild leads the way for red Bordeaux lots with its cases of the star vintage of 1982 (nos. 2-3 and 217), which are all estimated to sell for up to HK$312,000 (approximately US$40,000).  If you want the taste of top vintage Lafite and you’re rich, but not that rich, consider Lot 52 of one bottle of the 2000 Lafite that has a maximum estimate of HK$35,900 (about US$4,600).  As might be expected for what is considered by many the finest wine in the world, Lafite is consistently excellent every year.  Nevertheless, both 1982 and 2000 are thought to be “exceptional” vintages by experts, and are notoriously difficult to get a hold of at any price.  According to Wine-Searcher.com, the cheapest available bottle of 1982 Lafite at retail is being sold for US$3,199 plus shipping from Chicago.  This means that if you are a serious wine collector in Asia, the 1982 Lafite lots in this Hong Kong auction might actually be, believe it or not, reasonably priced relatively-speaking when you factor in possible shipping and that the least expensive available bottle in Asia costs HK$38,000 (US$4,870).