Petrus collection helps Sotheby’s auction hit $9.3m sales in US

Petrus collection auctioned by Sotheby's in the US
Petrus 1961, part of the ‘Monumental Cellar’ auction by Sotheby’s in September 2023.

Sotheby’s said sales from its ‘Monumental Cellar’ auction on 7 September hit $9.3m, its second highest total on record in the US, behind the sale of William I. Koch’s cellar in 2016 for $21.8m.

It’s been a relatively subdued year for the fine wine secondary market, with some data pointing to falling prices following a strong period of growth, yet the Sotheby’s sale offers further evidence that buyers have not entirely disappeared.  

It said its US wine and spirits division has achieved sales of $30m in 2023 so far, which is up 25% year-on-year as the autumn auction season gets underway.  

The single-owner ‘Monumental Cellar’ sale featured what Sotheby’s described as a ‘century of Petrus’, spanning vintages from 1924 to 2015, as well as other Bordeaux wines in large formats.

This included a five-litre jeroboam of one of the 20th century’s most lauded wines, Château Latour 1961, which sold for $50,000, including buyer’s premium, equalling its pre-sale high estimate. 

Burgundy was well-represented, too, and the auction’s highest prices were achieved by the wines of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC), a regular occurrence given their relative scarcity and allure.

Top lot was five bottles of DRC, Romanée-Conti 1999, which fetched $275,000, including buyer’s premium, albeit the final price was towards the lower end of the pre-sale estimate range ($260,000 to $350,000).

Five bottles of the same wine’s 1966 vintage fetched $93,750 (estimate: $45,000 – $65,000). 

Petrus made up a big proportion of the Bordeaux part of the collection. The oldest Petrus in the sale was a lot featuring two bottles of the 1924 vintage, which sold for $8,125, including buyer’s premium (high e: $7,000). 

Other highlights included:  

  • Two bottles of Petrus 1947 sold for $25,000, more than three times above the pre-sale high estimate.
  • Three magnums of Petrus 1959 fetched $40,000 | estimate $20,000 – $28,000
  • Twelve bottles of Petrus 1961 fetched $118,750, including buyer’s premium (pre-sale estimate $85,000 to $120,000)
  • One double magnum of Petrus 1998 fetched $25,000 | estimate $13,000 – $18,000
  • One double magnum of Petrus 2015 fetched $22,500 | estimate $14,000 – $20,000

Among the large-format wines in the auction, Bordeaux’s famous 1982 vintage commanded significant attention. Several lots featured six-litre Imperials of 1982-vintage wine from top estates.

These included an Imperial of Château Lafite Rothschild 1982, which sold for $22,500 (estimate $19,000 – $26,000).

Two Imperials of Latour 1982 each fetched $20,000, equalling their pre-sale high estimates, and an Imperial of Figeac 1982 sold for $9,375 (estimate $4,000 – $5,500).

Coming soon from Decanter: Bordeaux’s highly prized 1982 vintage will be featured in the October 2023 issue of Decanter magazine

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Petrus collection helps Sotheby’s auction hit $9.3m sales in US Petrus collection helps Sotheby’s auction hit $9.3m sales in US *Petrus collection helps Sotheby’s auction hit $9.3m sales in US