Napa Valley Wines Sell Big At Auction

The fine wine market saw one of the biggest hauls in recent history. The 2014 Napa Valley Premiere auction totaled $5.9 million in total sales, almost twice last year’s total. The wine auction features specially made barrel lots from the finest vineyards in Napa Valley in order to create hype about a particular vintage before the regularly-available bottles hit store shelves. The focus at this year’s auction was on the 2012 vintage, with 90 percent of the lots being bottles from that year. The total 225 lots ranged in size from 5 to 20 cases, with the most highly valued lot being 5 cases (60 bottles) of Scarecrow’s 2012 cabernet sauvignon titled “Toto’s Opium Dream: Scene III.” This lot sold for a total of $260,000, which breaks down to $4,333 a bottle.

Fine wine
While $4,333 for a single bottle of wine may seem like a travesty, that is just par for the course in the world of fine wine. The most expensive bottles ever sold reach up into the hundreds of thousands category. A 1787 Chateau Lafite sold in 1985 for $156,450, though that was largely attributed to the fact that Thomas Jefferson had been a previous owner. Some wine collectors seek out renowned vintages from famous vineyards despite the fact that many of them would be too old to drink. Examples include an 1945 bottle of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild or a 1787 Chateau d’Yquem. While some collectors may seek out wines for their legacy status, the wines sold at the Napa Valley Premiere auction are valued for their complex and distinguished taste.

The wine of Napa Valley
Napa Valley rose to prominence as a premiere winemaking region after the famous Paris Tasting of 1976. During that event, two California wines, a chardonnay from Chateau Montelena and a cabernet sauvignon from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars beat out the best of French winemaking regions such as Burgundy and Bordeaux in a blind taste test. The historic tradition of French winemaking had been eclipsed by the younger American methods, leading to a regional reputation that continues to this day. Even now, the term, “California cab” in wine circles brings up immediate associations of a bold, juicy, tannin-rich variety. The high prices in the latest auction signals a great interest in the 2012 vintage. Wine enthusiasts should keep an eye out for these wines when they hit store shelves later in the year.

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