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Press Release - April 9, 2013

1982 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Brings $41,175 To Lead Heritage Auctions’ $1.76+ Million Sold-Out Wine Event

March 29 auction, presented in Beverly Hills and simulcast to Hong Kong, sells 100% by value and 100% by lot

BEVERLY HILLS — A case of 1982 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac, one of three such cases with bottles in original tissue, realized $41,175 to top Heritage Auctions' $1.76 million Wine Signature® Auction, which sold 100% by value and 100% by lot. Presented in Beverly Hills and simulcast to Hong Kong, bidders from five continents came out in force to buy every bottle, including selections from the famed Massandra Winery and top Bordeaux of provenance.

"There was a resurgence of interest in mid-tier California and Burgundy, which is a strong indication that the wine market is enjoying a time of stability and that the international wine community is again thriving," said Frank Martell, Director of Wine Auctions for Heritage. "Typically it is that middle market that suffers most when the economy gets soft, when affluent but less wealthy bidders grow cautious. When Dominus, Insignia and Drouhin are getting a lot of attention, things are indeed healthy. On the other end of the scale, prices were very high for solid cases and large format bottles of top Bordeaux, including a large parcel of 1982 Lafite coming from a stunning consignment that boasted impeccable provenance."

The prized Chateau Lafite Rothschild claimed seven of the auction's 10 most valuable lots as a six-bottle lot of 1982 Chateau Lafite Rothschild reached $34,160 and a lot offering three magnums of 1982 Chateau Lafite Rothschild reached $26,840. A single 1982 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac Imperial fetched $24,400.

Among the leading French wines, a 10-bottle lot of 1970 Chateau Petrus Pomerol fetched $29,280 and a case of 1945 Chateau Latour Pauillac sold for $24,400. A 12-bottle assortment of 1993 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti realized $20,740.

"The trend of better quality wines outperforming the market will only grow as the new generation of mega buyers refine their tastes and pay more attention to the quality of the drink, and not just the pedigree of the label," Martell said. "That is, for those who have the means, paying over the odds to get a better product really should make sense. A bargain bottle of '47 Cheval Blanc is hardly a bargain if it doesn't provide the experience that made the wine famous."

Perhaps the most anticipated collection in the auction was hand-selected by Martell from the Massandra Collection, from which a rare 1915 White Muscat — bottled for Tsar Nicholas II's summer palace and among the last to appear in his cellar before his assassination in Russia's 1917 October Revolution — sold for $1,830. A number of selections from the winery outperformed expectations: a six-pack of 1923 White Muscat reached $4,880, a six bottle lot of 1923 Rose Muscat realized $4,270 and a six-pack of 1931 White Muscat brought $3,660.

"The fact that competition was so aggressive for the Massandra consignment demonstrates clearly that the modern wine community is as interested in the intellectual experience of drinking top quality wine as it is in the prestige value of buying the world's trophies," Martell said. "I love those wines, and sharing them is extremely satisfying, but what I find most notable today is that wines at every level found buyers and are returning to a sense of proportion."

A number of offerings handily surpassed pre-auction estimates as a 12-bottle lot of 1989 La Tache Domaine de la Romanée Conti realized $19,520 and two imperials of 1982 Chateau Latour brought $17,080 apiece. A case of 1982 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac realized $13,420.

"A lot of wine lovers have been chased out of the auction market by skyrocketing prices while consignors have also had reason to fear a volatile marketplace," Martell said. "There are some who feel that the current plateau is a sign of a weakening market, but I believe exactly the opposite — that we are returning to a normal state where every wine lover can participate comfortably.

"As a wine lover myself, I am particularly pleased to see order somewhat restored to the market," Martell said. "Good wine achieved good prices while great wine trended higher — as it should be."

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