Strauss & Co breaks SA wine record with 1821 Grand Constance just shy of R1m
16 Sep 2021
574 years of South African wine icons under the hammer with Strauss & Co
Multiple records were smashed on tonight’s Strauss & Co Virtual Live Auction that featured 5 iconic single bottle lots of South African wines as part of the combined art and wine Impression / Expression catalogue. 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 of owned by the Malan family.
Notably all 5 wines sold are in fine and drinkable condition, having all been tasted recently with high acclaim by local and international critics. The age of the 5 wines collectively add up to 574 years, which captured the imagination of bidders with their incredible history, provenance and rare collectability.
The coveted 1957 vintage of South Africa’s oldest red wine – Chateau Libertas and the iconic 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 115L barrel in care of the Joubert family for more than 200 years and seven generations, fetched R91,040.
“South Africa was firmly in the company of the fine wines of the world tonight at the Strauss & Co Virtual live sale,” says wine auction partner Higgo Jacobs. “We are incredibly happy with the results, both for the sellers but also for South African wine in general. These positive results will go a long way to elevate the status of iconic, historic South African wine.”
The Strauss & Co fine wine auctions are a collaboration between Strauss & Co, SA’s leading fine wine merchant WineCellar.co.za and wine auction partner Higgo Jacobs.
Further information for background:
South Africa’s wine history stretches back to Jan Van Rieebeck 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.
Strauss & Co Fine Wine Auctions is proud to have auctioned five iconic SA wines of considerable age. Since these wines have been stored over multiple generations, provenance is of supreme importance and each bottle carries a story of winemaking and ownership. Importantly, recent tastings have also confirmed their vinosity and sheer brilliance.
Leading international critics have, in fact, awarded their highest scores to vintage South African wines. Jancis Robinson awarded her first perfect score for a South African wine to the GS 1966 Cabernet. This experimental Durbanville Cabernet Sauvignon made by George Spies of Monis in 1966 and 1968 continues to leave palates in awe. Greg Sherwood MW did the same with the Chateau Libertas 1957 in a 2018 tasting of multiple bottles at the Winshaw cellar. Neal Martin’s 99 points for the Jaubert Family Muscat was the highest score from an American wine publication for a number of years. This incredibly unique solera-style sweet wine is drawn from a barrel of 1800 Muscat that has been under the ‘Jaubert’s’ custodianship since.
1987 was the first commercial vintage of Klein Constantia’s Vin de Constance and extremely rare bottles have reached record pricing in 2021. Both Higgo Jacobs and Roland Peens awarded 96 points and noted its relative youth and delicious nature.
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 labeled 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.
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