As the demand for fine vintage wines in Asia continue to see growth, it's a clear indication of the region's growing appreciation for tipple. "In recent years, the main change has been the increasing popularity of Burgundy, while Bordeaux still makes up a significant and important part of the fine wine auction market," opines Tim Triptree, head of sales at Christie's.
"Demand has been led by the increasing popularity of drinking fine wines and the appreciation of fine wines. We see many enthusiastic collectors who are fascinated by the culture, production and history of wines; experimenting and drinking different wines, learning about vineyards and vintages and becoming immersed and involved in wine in general," he explains. "Collectors are looking for the finest vintages from the top producers. These rare wines and vintages are highly sought after and this reason helps to partly explain the current popularity of Burgundy wines, as these wines are produced in very small quantities and so are difficult to find in the market."
Apt then, that the renowned auction house is hosting the sale of Historic Vintages from the Cellars of Bouchard Père & Fils, which will feature 220 lots of fine wines and vintages from Côte d’Or, Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils. The auction, which will take place on September 3, will also include rarely seen bottles such as the 1846 and 1858 Meursault-Charmes and 1864 Montrachet, as well as iconic wines from Bouchard Père & Fils the likes of Beaune Grèves Vigne de l'Enfant Jésus, Volnay Caillerets, Le Corton and Chevalier-Montrachet La Cabotte. "The provenance of these bottles is impeccable and all bottles have new labels, new capsules and packed in new wooden cases," Triptree says.
Later in the auction, he reveals Christie's will also present a collection of Romanée-Conti from a private collector and outstanding Burgundy from Part VI of an Esteemed Connoisseur's Collection that features a great selection of wines from Domaine Dujac & Dugat-Py.
Triptree shares more about the Asian vintage wine market.
Based on your experience, what types of vintage are currently sought after in Asia?
Older, rare vintages of Classed Growth Bordeaux and Burgundy, in both red and white, are extremely popular. There is also a demand is also for fine wines of Champagne, the Rhone, Italy, Germany, Spain and California.
What is it about vintages that make them highly desirable to collectors?
The majority of fine wines has the capacity to evolve and improve with time in the bottle. These possess the ability to evolve and can be "laid down" in cellars, making them highly desirable as collectors can track their evolution over the years and see how each wine progresses as it ages, before partaking of the wines when they are at their peak. There are many factors that determine the worth of a bottle: The vintage quality, the producer, the condition of the bottle, the provenance and where it is purchased from — all of these and more can all affect the value of the wine. Many wines do increase in value as the supply decreases over time. However wine has a finite life, so collectors do need to monitor their collection and ensure the wines do not start to decline.
What else do you foresee in Asia's vintage wine scene?
I see a very healthy outlook for the fine wine market in Asia. There are many potential collectors who will become wine enthusiasts over the coming years. Growth could come from Mainland China, but also countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines.
To you, what is the best way to savour the first sips of an auctioned bottle of fine wine?
The best way is to carefully pull the cork, pour a small measure and to smell and then finally tasting it, recognising and memorizing the aromas and flavours.
Christie's Fine and Rare Wines: Historic Vintages Direct from the Cellars of Bouchard Père & Fils will take place on September 3, 2016, at the Alexandra House in Hong Kong