Fine Living | Need To Now

Time-limited luxuries

Chicago, and another chapter in the continuing story of Lafite mania

Time-limited luxuries

March 17 2011
John Stimpfig

On March 19, wine aficionados will be firmly focused on Chicago, where auction house Hart Davis Hart (HDH) is putting more than 3,000 bottles of Château Lafite and Carruades de Lafite on the block. According to HDH’s CEO Paul Hart, “This is the largest ever offering of Lafite at auction.”

The 400 lots, spanning 29 vintages between 1961 and 2006, are estimated to bring a total of $4.3m to $6.5m. But with exponential and unremitting demand, particularly from China, the final total could go well beyond the high estimate.

Mouthwatering highlights from the catalogue include no fewer than 38 lots (257 bottles) of the increasingly rare ’82 vintage. They alone are estimated to fetch as much as $1.5m. A single Imperial of the ’82 ($26,000-$38,000) is also up for grabs.

With Lafite mania continuing to run at record levels, Hart is understandably “very excited about this unique auction”. Regarding provenance, HDH has built the sale by sourcing the wines from several of the most important collectors in the US.

The venue for the sale is the award-winning Tru Restaurant, where attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy dishes created by executive chef Anthony Martin, paired, of course, with a variety of Lafite vintages. However, if you can’t make it to Tru, a number of private tastings and dinners are taking place in Chicago, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing, in conjunction with the auction.