Wine auction of old Romanian wines at Artmark
I received an invitation from Artmark – an art auction house established in Bucharest – to attend the sale of some old Romanian wines that will take place on Feb 24th, 2011. They also sent me a printed presentation catalog about the auction and the lots available.
The catalog contains general stories about what happened globally during those particular years matching the vintages of the wines and generic information about grape varieties. There are bottles of Pinot Noir, Muscat Ottonel, Chardonnay, Rosu de Minis, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Gris, Merlot with vintages ranging from 1937 to 1960 produced by Murfatlar, Podgoria Minis and Podgoria Pietroasele. The majority of the bottles contain sweet or medium sweet wines with a couple of exceptions of dry ones. Most of the wines have estimated values between 400 EUR to 1500 EUR per bottle. Some wines have very low fill levels and the bottles are dusty and dirty, making impossible to see the fill level.
During my experiences with purchasing old wine from abroad, the vendors always tried to show the bottles as clean as possible with intact original labels and trying to zoom as much as possible on the fill level. A higher level wine will always be more expensive than a lower one as that is the proof of a better storage. They include also information about provenance. A dirty bottle doesn’t make the wine older. On the contrary: it is a sign of improper storage and the wine should be seriously discounted.
Most of the prestigious International auction houses (Sotheby’s, Christie) try to give as much information as possible about the lots about to be sold. Usually, collections of wines that come from reputable wine collectors fetch considerable higher prices than the ones without a storing and provenance history. The highest prices are paid for wines that come directly from the Chateau’s cellars as there is no doubt about the storage history since those wines never left the cellar. This was the case of a lot of wines that came directly from Château Lafite Rothschild’s cellars in a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong.
Just a few examples of some of the auctioned lots and the asking prices (no lot will be sold under the minimum asking price) from Artmark:
1938 Murfatlar – Cabernet Sauvignon 0.75 L estimated value per bottle 800-1500 EUR
1937 Murfatlar – Cabernet Sauvignon 0.75 L estimated value per bottle 800-1500 EUR
1946 Podgoria Miniș Muscat Ottonel 0.75 L estimated value per bottle 400-700 EUR
1958 Murfatlar Chardonnay 0.75 L estimated value per bottle 400-700 EUR
For anybody willing to try old vintages and believe me: it is an experience worth living, here are some interesting alternatives for world acclaimed and recognized wines:
Any knowledgeable wine connoisseur pays attention to these important details when buying old wine: pedigree of the producer, provenance, storing history and price. The initiative of Artmark to organize an old wine auction in Romania is to be praised. However, attention needs to be paid to these important details known by any average wine connoisseur and most important of all: the pricing.
To check all the lots of wines for this auction go here.
Me, I just bought this week a Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou 1966 with impeccable original label and fill level for the impressive amount of just 73 EUR.
Your comments are welcomed.
Thanks for reading!