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A highly unusual wine auction

Classic vintages add sparkle to this glamorous evening sale

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A highly unusual wine auction

January 30 2012
John Stimpfig

February 8 will see a stellar line-up of fine and rare wines going under the hammer in London. Nothing new in that, one might say, except that this is not quite your usual UK wine auction.

Firstly, there’s the time and venue. Rather than taking place in an auctioneer’s daytime saleroom, “The Evening Sale” is also going on in the much more glamorous ballroom of the Mandarin Oriental. It even kicks off with a cocktail reception at 6.30pm. And it’s being put together and organised by Spectrum Wine Auctions, together with global fine-wine dealer Vanquish Wines Ltd. Both want to redefine the UK auction scene, making their events more social, fun and glitzy.

It seems a good match. Spectrum has successfully broken into the Hong Kong and US auction markets, with sales of over £30m since 2009. Vanquish has made similar waves as one of the UK’s latest and leading ultra-fine-wine merchants. The gavel will be wielded by Vanquish head of fine wines Richard Brierley. Formerly of Christie’s North America, Brierley “wants to bring to London the excitement I knew at auctions in New York and LA”.

Much may be new, but the wines on offer are reassuringly rare and desirable. Outstanding burgundy lots worth up to £1.5m include offerings of DRC (third picture, 11-bottle 1990 assortment, estimate £27,500), Henri Jayer, Dujac, de Vogüé and Coche-Dury. Champagne lovers can bid on vintages of Krug and Ruinart (first picture, 1979 rosé, estimate £1,000). Bordeaux aficionados will also have plenty to excite them, with liquid legends such as 1945 La Mission Haut-Brion, 61 Latour, 82 Lafite (second picture, three double magnums of 2005 Lafite, estimate £7,000) and 2005 Petrus and Le Pin.

In total, the 177 lots have a pre-sale estimate in excess of £2m. Potential bidders will need to pre-register by 6pm on the date of the sale itself.