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    Sale 1952

    Grands Crus Part II: Finest and Rarest Wines from the Superlative Collection of Christen Sveaas

    3 November 2007, Los Angeles

  • Lot 373

    Château Lafite-Rothschild--Vintage 1811

    1 Tappit-Hen (2.25 liters) per lot

    Price Realised  


    Château Lafite-Rothschild--Vintage 1811
    Pauillac, 1er cru classé
    Lot 373 level: base of neck
    Original, hand-blown, squat, dark glass bottle with shallow punt. Height 111/3 in. (30cm), diameter of base 5 in. (12.75 cm). New Château capsule. Cork visibly slightly shrunk in neck. On one side of the bottle is a new Château label, on the other, the old label, slightly torn reads, '1811/CHATEAU LAFITTE (sic)/I-J Van der Berghel/Bordeaux,' and printed slip label of Domaines Baron de Rothschild. 'Rebouchage fait par le Maitre du Château en 1986 (corrected to 1987).' The bottle was recorked in June 1987 by the cellarmaster of Château Lafite, M. Revelle, in the presence of the then owner. The wine was fairly light in colour but had a very healthy smell with no hint of oxidation. It was not tasted but was topped up with a small quantity of Lafite 1896 vintage.
    Lot 374 level: top shoulder; hand blown glass; Rebouché en 1986, lightly bin soiled label, slightly protruding capsule

    1811 was possibly the greatest vintage of the 19th Century, indeed arguably of all time. It was highly successful in every European wine district, from Tokay, acrosss Austria and the Rhine and throughout France.
    There were perfect growing conditions and the picking began in Bordeaux on September 14th. The vintage was reported to be magnificent and abundant. "It sometimes happens that a good vintage is glorified by the appearance of a comet. One such year was 1630, but 1811, more famous.... is the vintage usually referred to as the comet year." (Alexis Lichine's Encyclopaedia of Wines & Spirits); "wines so marvellous that they defied superlatives" (H. Warner Allen) A History of Wine). Lafite "drinking gracefully at 115 years of age" (Maurice Healey Stay Me with Flagons) was considered to be the finest red Bordeaux ever made and the pioneer of great vintage clarets, and ranked historically by H. Warner Allen, with the Opimian vintage of 121 B.C.
    There seems to be no firm definition of the bottle size referred to as "tappit-hen". Believed to be of Scottish origin, a tappit-hen can vary, according to which definition one follows, from 1 1/2 bottles to a tregnum or 3-bottle bottle. It is safest to say that it approximates to a magnum.
    1 Tappit-Hen (2.25 liters) per lot

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    Christie's London: sale 6271, lot 429, 06 June 2000, cover lot; Property of An Extraordinary Collection of 19th Century Lafite. Prior to that sale this lot last sold at Christie's Finest and Rarest Sale on 23 June 1988. It has been in excellent temperature and humidity controlled conditions ever since.