‘Last bottles’ from Henri Jayer cellar sold for $35 million – auction house

‘Last bottles’ from Henri Jayer cellar sold for $35 million – auction house

Strong competition from bidders around the world saw the Geneva auction achieve more than double its pre-sale estimate, according to organiser Baghera Wines.

Around 100 bidders took part in the Henri Jayer cellar auction, held on 17 June at Domaine de Châteauvieux in Geneva, said Baghera Wines.

A final sales total of CHF34.5 million (US$34.7 million) was more than double the top-end estimate prior to the auction.

Baghera, which pitched the event as the last ex-cellar auction from the late Henri Jayer’s personal collection, had set a pre-sale high estimate of CHF13 million.

Jayer died in 2006, aged 84, and had long been considered a master of Pinot Noir in Burgundy.

More than 1,000 wines were up for auction, including 855 75cl bottles and 209 magnums, divided into 215 lots. Vintages ranged from 1970 to 2001. All had remained in Jayer cellars until February 2018, Baghera said.

Top lot was a 15-magnum cache of Cros-Parantoux 1er Cru vintages stretching from 1978 to 2001, which fetched CHF1.16 million,including the buyer’s premium.

Other top lots in the sale included:

  • One  magnum of Cros-Parantoux 1er Cru 1978, sold for CHF144,000
  • Six  magnums of Cros-Parantoux 1999, sold for CHF528,000
  • One  bottle  of Richebourg 1986, sold for CHF50,400

Michael Ganne, executive director of Baghera Wines, said, ‘No doubt, this auction will remain a historic event for all Pinot Noir enthusiasts.’

Baghera said that the wines became available for auction after Jayer’s two daughters decided to sell the collection.

A spokesperson for Baghera said that Jayer’s two daughters, Lydie and Dominique, chose the company ahead of two other international auction houses ‘because we had a close relationship with them, because they trusted us and because they knew we would dedicate more than six months of our time to work solely and exclusively on this project, with passion and sincerity’.

All the wines were given new capsules and new labels in February 2018, before being shipped direct from the cellar ‘under a sworn bailiff’s supervision’, the auction house said.

Regarding fill levels for wines in the auction, Baghera said that it had assessed the wines and found the levels to be perfectly acceptable for their age.

‘Henri Jayer was known to be obsessively cautious and meticulous with the corks he used, choosing his cork manufacturers with great rigour,’ Baghera said. ‘But like in any domaine’s cellar, after 30 years, some corks may be more fragile than others.’

Around three percent of the wines in 75cl bottles in the auction had a level that more than five centimetres below the capsule, and most of these were more than 40 years old, Baghera said.

It added, ‘If levels are important for an old bottle of wine, the colour of the wine is the key. We agreed to sell these wines because the colour was fantastic and, in our opinion, still great for consumption.’

Read in-depth profiles of top Burgundy producers by Clive Coates MW on Decanter Premium

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