October 25, 2008

Zachys' inaugural HK auction

Pin It

I decided to check out the Zachys auction today. I wasn't planning on it at first, but Fritz Hatton from Arietta - who used to work for Christie's - is here as the auctioneer for Zachys, and I received a catalog at lunch on Thursday. I decided to do some homework, and try to see if I could pick up some bargains. 

What a difference 5 months make! Since the last Acker auction in May, the world has become a different place. Financial markets worldwide have taken some serious battering, and we are still in the midst of the downturn with markets worldwide continue to fall yesterday. I arrived about an hour after the auction started, and while the room was very full - they had to put me in an alcove up front - the mood was immediately apparent.

Most lots were going for cheap, with a significant portion selling for at or below the pre-sale estimate. A good number of lots also remained unsold. The victims were blue chip Bordeaux (people already have enough stocks of these) and high-priced lots like 2005 Burgundy or DRC Romanee-Conti. Once the price got past HKD 150,000, people found it increasingly hard to justify bidding for these.

While this auction had a few gems which stood out, such as a parcel of ex-domaine Jaboulet, including some of the legendary 1961 Hermitage La Chapelle, there was only one superlot - a 24-vintage vertical of ex-chateau Latour imperials which sold for HKD 1.3MM. The Acker auction in May had multiple lots breaking the HKD 1MM mark, including 2 cases of 1945 Mouton-Rothschild that went to the same buyer. We had to make do with a solitary bottle of this legendary wine which sold for HKD 45,000.

Most of my wine geek friends stayed away from the auction, as some of whom were saving their money for the upcoming Acker auction next month. The bidders from mainland China - some of whom attended the Acker auction in May - were also conspicuously absent. As for me, I ended up picking up a couple of cases of white wine at the low end of estimates. Not exactly a screaming bargain, but I made sure that I didn't overpay. And I'm dying to try out a couple of bottles of very old DRC, bought for slightly above low end of estimates but something I just couldn't pass up.

I can imagine that the people at Zachys are kicking themselves for not coming to HK sooner, as this cannot have been the outcome that they had hoped for. The next Acker auction is in 3 weeks. I just received the catalog today, and there didn't seem to be any bargains at first glance. Let's see what happens then...

FYI Zachys was kind enough to serve some wines during the auction. We started with the 1998 Pol Roger Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill before lunch, which was toasty with a bit of caramel/creme brulee in the nose. Very young but had a nice acidity balance. During lunch we were served 1988 Latour from an imperial, as well as 1997 Jaboulet La Chapelle from double magnums (or was it jeroboam?). The Latour was classic, with mint, cigar smoke, prunes and a bit of brett in the nose. A nice wine to drink with the food. The La Chapelle was a little disappointing, with high levels of acidity and not much of the trademark nose that I have come to love. I guess it needed more time to breathe. Towards the end of the auction, they decided to serve us more wine to try to get things going. The 2000 Talbot was not bad, with mint, grilled meats, smoke and a hint of orange in the nose. It was a little acidic but overall a very pleasant wine to drink.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map