CAPE TOWN – A single bottle of wine has smashed a new record after it sold for a figure just shy of R1 million at a Strauss & Co Virtual Live Auction on Tuesday.
Multiple records were smashed at the auction held on Tuesday that featured five iconic single bottle lots of South African wines as part of the combined art and wine impression/expression catalogue.
The age of the five wines collectively add up to 574 years, which captured the imagination of bidders with their incredible history, provenance and rare collectability.
The marquee lot and expectedly the star of the sale, a bottle of Grand Constance 1821 fetched a staggering R967 300 including commission, doubling an earlier auction record in April this year.
This extremely rare bottle of sweet wine, likely destined for Napoleon before his death in 1821, is in fine condition and was owned by the Malan family.
“The marquee lot, and arguably the rarest South African wine, is the Grand Constance 1821, was the first to be auctioned by Strauss & Co.
“This bottle was purchased on auction in London as part of a larger collection in 1983 by the Malan family of Simonsig Estate.
“It is of incredible condition considering its age and only a handful of labelled bottles in this fine condition remain in South Africa today.
“Noted for its freshness, richness and complexity, this 200-year-old wine offers a fine investment proposition or hedonistic pleasure,” Strauss & Co said.
The 1957 vintage of South Africa’s oldest red wine – Chateau Libertas and the GS Cabernet Sauvignon 1966 both achieved R91 040.
The former, a 100 pointer from Greg Sherwood MW, and the latter 20/20 from Jancis Robison are record prices for red South African wines. Both bottles have recently been re-corked, ensuring perfect condition and longevity.
The night belonged to the sweets though, firmly establishing South Africa’s status as a producer of world class sweet wines, both historically and today.
The first commercial vintage of the Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 1987 achieved R34 140, while a 275ml bottle of the Jaubert Family Muscat d’Alexandrie, drawn from a 11-litre barrel in care of the Joubert family for more than 200 years and seven generations, fetched R91 040.
All five wines sold are in fine and drinkable condition, organiser’s said, having all been tasted recently with high acclaim by local and international critics.
“South Africa’s wine history stretches back to Jan van Riebeeck in the 1650s, although sweet wines dominated until the widespread establishment of vineyards in the 20th century.
“Unlike the deep wine heritage of Europe however, few bottles of very old South African wine remain today.”