Auctions: Record prices

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Red bordeaux is the consistent pace-setter for wine auction prices, accounting for almost all red wine records. The record of £105,000 for a single bottle of 1787 Ch Lafitte (sic) paid by the late Malcolm Forbes at Christie’s on 5 December 1985 survived much longer than the wine itself, which turned to vinegar when put on show upright under a bright light (see storing wine). It was Lafite again, on this occasion the 1869 vintage, which smashed through the barrier for a standard 75 cl. bottle when three bottles were sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in October 2010 for HK$1.8 million ($230,000) each. In November 2010, a rare imperial (six-litre bottle) of Ch Cheval Blanc 1947 was sold for £192,000 at Christie’s, Geneva, setting a world record for a single bottle, albeit an outsize one. The dizzying rise of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in the early 21st century has seen records consistently broken by the wines of this exceptional Burgundy producer. The most notable world record for a case of the grand cru Romanée-Conti itself was the HK$3,675,000 (£295,838) paid at Christie’s Hong Kong in November 2013 for 12 bottles of the 1978 vintage.