Fine Wines & Spirits

 

“The cellar is sometimes the unsuspected resting place for a significant part of our heritage. Even well preserved, wines and spirits are perishable nectars that must be sold at the peak of their potential in order to take full advantage of their value.”


— Pierre-Luc Nourry

 

A globalized and highly diversified market

Wine is an international market and France is the country to buy from! Our house has made it one of its specialties, thanks to its 70% of foreign buyers, allowing the wine department to seriously consolidate its network of private and professional buyers. Most of the buyers are wine merchants specialized in fine wines or private individuals wishing to build up a fine cellar. Burgundy wine is on the rise and AGUTTES is showing very good sales of its best representatives. Bordeaux lovers are concentrating on the first great classified growths and the Rhone Valley is a real rising star. Champagne is once again experiencing a good dynamic.

On the spirits market, the rise of rare spirits is confirmed year after year, supported by a strong increase in global demand. New records are regularly set for the rarest bottles, with prices sometimes reaching seven figures!

Pierre-Luc Nourry, assisted by the expert Denis Bernard, has been developing the department for 5 years and has sold more than one million euros in 2021. He organizes 4 specialized sales per year in Neuilly-sur-Seine, during which several thousands of bottles are dispersed; a selection coming essentially from the cellars of private individuals who wish to dispose of wines that they consider too old for their taste or too expensive for their own consumption. These auctions give rise to great bidding battles where rarity, good conservation and age are major assets that can give a real added value to your bottles.

You may have treasures at home or in your cellar so don’t hesitate to contact us! Send us your list with the appellations, vintages and names of the domain or producer, or just a few photographs. We also travel to all the major cities in France and Europe and organize expertise days in collaboration with our representative offices in Brussels, Lyon and Aix-en-Provence.

 

Whatever the bottle…

The history of bottles is above all the history of enthusiasts who cherish them for what they represent, for what they contain, for what they give them as pleasure. To feel the infinite richness of the aromas of a great Cognac vintage from the 19th century, to plunge one’s eyes into the amber color of a rum from the West Indies aged for decades in the quiet of a cellar on the other side of the world, to bring to the lips a glass of wine from the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti… It is our senses and our dreams that feed our passions.

Starting with the producers, the first craftsmen, creators of these marvels of know-how and mastery, who each have their own vision, so personal, so different and so right at the same time, of the purpose of their work, whether it is wine, whisky, rum, sake… The fruit of their efforts is “sacred”.

From the hard work of the winegrower trying every day to get the quintessence of his land and his vines, courageously advancing in the narrow corridor of what nature wants to allow him to do according to the seasons and the bad weather; to the virtuosity required by the profession of the cellar master who today must decide alone on the perfect moment to bottle the malt treasures he has inherited from his predecessors. The winegrower who tomorrow will create with his nose and his experience, after having smelled hundreds of samples to balance the notes, to harmonize the character, a whisky that he will perhaps never taste finished.

The difficulty of creating these exceptional products is necessarily at the root of the admiration that collectors, knowledgeable tasters and simple amateurs throughout the world have for them.

The pleasure of owning these bottles for all that they represent in terms of human values: effort, perseverance, sensitivity, justifies the fact that they are particularly coveted and for some outrageously expensive…

 

The notion of valuation of exceptional wines and spirits

The estimation of the wines and spirits you own is the first phase of the auctioning of your collection bottles. Naturally, a Château Margaux from the 2015 vintage will not have the same value as a Château Haut-Brion 1989 or a Château Mouton-Rothschild 2000. Why is this so?

An estimation of wines and spirits is based on several concrete notions, the first of which is the origin: the chateau/ estate from which it comes if it is a wine, or the distillery/ brand if it is a spirit. Not all of them have the same quality, the same reputation and the same production capacity, and therefore the same rarity.

In Bordeaux, the famous classifications (notably the 1855 classification) tend to lose their importance in the eyes of buyers, so much so that their legitimacy is questioned, sometimes by the first concerned themselves, namely the Châteaux: Angelus, Ausone, and Cheval Blanc have recently decided to move away from them, proving that at a certain level, the stature of a wine transcends its belonging to one or other scale of value. In fact, Pétrus, Le Pin, Latour, Mouton Rothschild, Lafite Rothschild, Margaux, Haut-Brion, La Mission Haut-Brion, Ausone, Cheval Blanc and Yquem are the most valued at auction.

For Burgundy and Rhone it is this time the person of the producer who will determine the quality and the price of the wines. A bottle of Chablis from Raveneau or Dauvissat will have a much higher price than another one from a less popular domain, because of the high demand from buyers all over the world for these wines produced in small quantities. Let us quote some great names of these regions: For Burgundy in addition to the famous Domaine de La Romanée-Conti we count in particular Armand Rousseau, Henri Jayer, Georges Roumier, Domaine Leroy, Auvenay, Leflaive, Comtes Lafon, Méo-Camuzet, Liger-Belair, Bizot, Coche-Dury, Dujac, Ponsot, Roulot…

For the Rhône region, let’s mention Emmanuel Reynaud (Château Rayas, Château de Fonsalette, Château des Tours), Thierry Allemand, Henri Bonneau, Jean-Louis Chave, Yves Gangloff, E. Guilgal, the Domaine Jamet…

After the identification of the origin of the wine, comes the very important question of the year. This being also true for spirits resulting from distillation like whisky, rum, cognac or calvados. The year is of utmost importance in the determination of the estimate. Depending on the year considered, the price of a wine from the same Château can be multiplied by ten or more.

 

Conservation status: a key criterion

The origin and the year are therefore the two fundamental criteria in establishing the estimate since they will allow us to refer to the price of the wines and spirits in question, to compare it with the most recent results observed in public sales (in France but also throughout the world) and of course with the state of conservation.

We make a point of checking the authenticity and state of conservation of the bottles before including them in our sales. Estimates can be a prerequisite for this inspection, but the criteria that are verified at the time of the expertise ensure the correlation between the estimated price and the actual condition of the wine or spirit that is to be sold.

Buyers pay attention to the origin and the state of presentation of the bottles they covet, and even if it is impossible to predict the content of a tasting in advance, we are therefore guarantors of the indications we provide regarding the origin of the lots and their meticulous description. Three points are important here:

    • the current level in the bottle (compared to the original: the lower it is, the lower the value)
    • the state of the label, as it is the main element allowing to identify a bottle
    • the state of the cap and the stopper to check if there has been any fraudulent manipulation, but also to note the classic defects that can harm the tightness and therefore the integrity of the contents.

 

Putting it up for sale, a tailor-made service

After the estimates, the choice is yours to trust our department for the actual sale of these bottles and their highlighting at auction in one of our vacations.

We then conclude an agreement which results in the signature of a sales mandate, which gives a clear and precise legal framework to your approach. It contains the list of wines and spirits entrusted to us, with the related estimates, as well as the general conditions of sale, specifying in particular the amount of the fees that will be charged to the seller. These fees depend on the total amount of your file.

Auction sales imply that the auctioneer is in possession of the objects he sells, so that the buyer can immediately dispose of his purchases (unless otherwise stated in the specific conditions of the sale). Therefore, once the mandate is signed, we organize with you the disposal of the bottles. This involves arranging a meeting in our offices if you wish to take care of the deposit yourself, or preparing the transport of your goods by our trusted service providers, specialized in the handling of precious objects. The bottles are then placed in the best conditions before, during and after the sale.

Once the important logistical aspect has been completed, comes the preparation of the lots and the sale catalog: expertise, numbering, realization of the descriptive cards and the catalog, photography of the lots by a professional, packaging and finally promotion by all the means of communication which we have.

At the end of the sale you will receive a detailed report of the results and the payment within four weeks.

In case of no sale, you remain the owner of the lots and are free to dispose of them at no cost or to leave them for a new auction.

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