Christie‘s had a good week, as did Sotheby’s, in Geneva, with sales of fine jewels netting the two nearly CHF100 million in sales. The diamond sales makes the price of a fine bottle of wine dim a bit, but nevertheless, the CHF109,250 ($98,951) paid at Christie’s wine auction at the Four Season’s Hotel des Bergues Tuesday 11 May set a record for the wine and was nearly twice the estimated pre-auction price. Six bottles of Hermitage, La Chapelle went for that price, sold to a private, unnamed Asian investor (and/or drinker of wine).
We can’t improve on Christie’s description but we can dream about drinking this fine Syrah:
Hermitage, La Chapelle–Vintage 1961
Rhône. Domaine-bottled: Paul Jaboulet Aîné
Recent release from the Domaine. Offered in a new original wooden case of six bottles from the domaine. Excellent appearance. Levels: five at 2,5cms or better and one at 3.5cms
Tasting note: This is unquestionably one of the greatest wines made in the twentieth century. In the two dozen tastings where I have had the 1961 La Chapelle, I rated it 100 points twenty times. The opaque purple/garnet color is accompanied by spectacular aromatics representing the essence of old vine Syrah (smoked meat, pepper, hoisin sauce, and soy).
As the wine sits in the glass, notions of pepper, new saddle leather, grilled meat, and awesome levels of blackberry, plum, and black currant liqueur-like notes emerge. Extremely unctuous, with compelling concentration and purity, this full-bodied, seamless, mouthfilling 1961 is truly immortal. It still possesses a freshness and vigor that defy its nearly forty years of age. It should continue to drink well for two more decades. Prodigious stuff! 100 Points. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate # 129 (Jun 2000)