Hong Kong’s wine scene ended the year on a Burgundy-flavored high note, with a 55-bottle “superlot” from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti selling for $813,333. The ultra rare Romanée-Conti’s spanned 1952 to 2007, working out to nearly $15,000 a bottle, and went to a Chinese collector bidding by phone at Acker Merrall & Condit’s auction. The firm says it was the most expensive lot this year of any sale, world-wide. Other highlights included 101 vintages of Château Mouton Rothschild back to 1867, which sold for $500,513, and a 57-bottle lot of Château Pétrus from 1959 to 2007, for $250,256. In a statement, John Kapon, Acker’s chief executive, called 2011 a “triumphant year in Asia.”
The results tell the story of the past 12 months, with Bordeaux and particularly Château Lafite Rothschild losing their perch as Asia’s favorites, to Burgundy’s Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, which now reigns supreme among the region’s top collectors, and regularly achieves the highest prices.
Since a year ago when Lafite was king and three bottles of 1869 sold for a record-breaking US$232,692 each, cracks have begun to emerge in the fine wine market as economic worries grow. Sotheby’s ended a run of 16 consecutive sold-out Hong Kong sales in the second half of this year by failing to sell some lots. The prices of Bordeaux’s first growths have dropped 12% so far this year, according to the Liv-Ex Fine Wine 50 index. Still, wine sellers aren’t giving up. Acker holds its next auction in mid-January, and Christie’s and Sotheby’s have more planned for 2012.