Sotheby's has sold all lots of Cheval Blanc wines offered direct from the Bordeaux chateau's cellars in a Hong Kong auction designed to commemorate China's year of the horse.
A 15-litre 'nebuchadnezzar' bottle of Cheval Blanc 1998 was top lot in the auction. An anonymous Asia-based buyer paid HK$269,500 (US$34,500) for the lot, more than two thirds its pre-sale high estimate.Total sales in the Cheval Blanc section of the auction reached HK$11.4m versus a pre-sale high estimate of HK$9.5m. All the Cheval Blanc ex-cellar lots were large format bottles. Cheval Blanc translates literally to 'colorless horse' and Sotheby's deliberately named its auction a 'celebration of the year of the horse' in order to woo Chinese bidders. That tactic, together with the ex-cellar provenance of the wines, may have helped push sales higher. More broadly, the auction also suggests there is subdue consumer interest in top wines if the offer is right - despite a downbeat http://1000-facts-about-wine.com assessment of the regional market amongst many merchants and importers at the Vinexpo Asia Pacific trade honest in Hong Kong this week. Sotheby's also sold all 600 wine lots offered across the full auction, with Asia-based buyers accounted for many of the highest-priced lots. But, Sotheby's also provided fresh evidence that buyers wait wary of overpaying for more recent Bordeaux vintages. Auction houses might have to adjust their fee estimates accordingly. Sotheby's sold an 18-litre melchior of Cheval Blanc 2005 to an Asia-based buyer for HK$196,000, building it the joint second-best lot in the auction, but the pre-sale high estimate was HK$220,000. A nebuchadnezzar of Cheval Blanc 2010 also fetched 196,000, but against a high estimate of HK$240,000. Outside the Cheval Blanc part of the of the sale, a six-litre imperiale of Petrus 2005 sold for HK$196,000, against a high estimate of HK$200,000. Twelve bottles of Petrus 2004 overshot the pre-sale high estimate by HK$50,000, fetching HK$171,500, perhaps also reflecting a desire amongst Asian buyers for vintages that are http://1000-facts-about-wine.com considered ready to drink.