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Allegrini 2018
FINE WINES

Roagna, Biondi Santi, Sassicaia, Soldera and Masseto: in Hong Kong Italy protagonist

Gelardini & Romani and Finarte sign the first auction in 2020: 94% of lots sold, 550,000 euros in proceeds and record revaluations

Italy is the protagonist of the first fine wine auction hosted in Hong Kong since the beginning of the year, staged yesterday in the former British colony and signed by Gelardini & Romani and Finarte, able to bring under the hammer (also online) 752 lots (plus dozens of out of catalog), with 94% of the catalog, in value, assigned, for a total of 550,000 euros collected. “But if we had had more lots - comments, to WineNews, Raimondo Romani, at the helm, with Flaviano Gelardini, of Gelardini & Romani Wine Auctions - we would have sold them. The spending capacity here is high, the big spenders have returned to Hong Kong and can not travel, plus the government has put in circulation so much liquidity, there are even more possibilities of 2019, absolutely positive news for the coming months”.
But the best news is another: “the Italian lots are the most successful, thanks also to the collaboration with the Master of Wine Sarah Heller, whose work has proved fundamental to clear Italian wine through customs among collectors. Just think that the French have also bought Italy: there are wine merchants who sell Romanée-Conti and drink Pergole Torte. In general, it is interesting to note that Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, the two greatest expressions of Belpaese winemaking, have catalyzed the interest of collectors, who still see the physical auction as their point of reference”.
Among the top lots, behind the two Burgundy champions such as the 8 vertical bottles (from 2009 to 2016) of Corton Domaine De La Romanée-Conti, which fetched €12,000, and the 1990 Armand Rousseau magnum, which was auctioned at 11. 300 euros, there are the 12 bottles of Barbaresco Crichet Pajé 2010 by Roagna, which reached 8,800 euros (an increase of +178% on an auction basis), then the three magnums by Masseto (from the 2006, 2015 and 2016 vintages), sold for 5,800 euros in Italy. And then, but out of the catalog, the lot of nine bottles of Bordeaux cru (Cheval Blanc, Latour, Petrus, Margaux, Lafitte Rothschild, Mouton Rothschild, Haut Brion, La Mission Haut Brion and Yquem), for €5,300. Then the three bottles of Brunello Riserva 1955 Biondi Santi at 4,940 euros (+133% on auction basis), the two magnums of Sassicaia (1985 and 1997) at 4,600 euros, the mathusalem (six liters) of Haut Brion 2001 (out of print) at 3,960 euros and the 6 bottles of Barolo Caa Morisso 2010 by Giuseppe Mascarello, at 3,900 euros. Closing the top ten, another 3 bottles of Brunello Biondi Santi (Riserva 1971, 1985, 1997), at 3,900 euros, with a record increase of +267% on an auction basis, 12 bottles of della Valpolicella by Dal Forno, in a mini vertical tasting of 3 bottles for each vintage (2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011), at 3,200 euros, and the magnum of Brunello di Montalcino 1983 by Case Basse (Soldera), at 2,250 euros.
“Fine wines are one of the few pleasant things that people can indulge in at the moment, especially if we are talking about Italy, because from the wine dinners that have approached this auction - explains Raimondo Romani again - a great desire to travel in our country has emerged, but not being able to, one is “content” with an experience in the glass. The auction is a possibility that many companies have been able to take advantage of, but it could also be interesting for many restaurateurs who need to rotate the cellar, especially at this time. We must consider that we don't have reserve prices, but at auction the price always arrives, automatically, the market does it, even if many in Italy don’t understand this mechanism and prefer to follow different channels, giving up a great possibility”.
As said, in addition to the first 2020 wine auction in Hong Kong, it was the first collaboration between Gelardini & Romani Wine Auctions and Finarte, which took care of the whole aspect of the online sale, so that a share of less than 10% of the beaten lots passed. “It was a really interesting collaboration”, Guido Groppi, Head of the Wine and Spirits Department at Finarte, told WineNews, “pespecially in practice, waking us up at 4am and updating the platform as the lots were beaten by Hong Kong. A good premiere, with many lots awarded in Europe, and collectors standing by at 5am. An avant-garde experiment, with lots (almost a thousand at the end) beaten at a furious pace, difficult to follow online, but it can be done. It was an interesting moment for the Italian wine market, and now that we know each other, and we know what our respective criteria are, I think the collaboration could prove to be lasting. The potential - continues Groppi - also lies in the fact that they sell in Hong Kong, we in Italy, so we can complete ourselves, but we still have another market to exploit, that of the United States and the rest of Europe. Among Italian collectors I don’t see much change on the horizon. Among the reasons for buying there is certainly the investment, so for now it will be Bolgheri, Super Tuscan, Brunello and Barolo that will drive the market, but for the future, like Raimondo Romani I too would bet on Etna, red and white, because they are wines destined for aging, even if at the time of old vintages there are not many of them around. Another area of Italy to report and follow, in my opinion, are - concludes the Head of the Department of Wines and Distillates of Finarte, Guido Groppi - Valtellina and northern Piedmont, then again Nebbiolo, an exceptional brand and a grape variety of sure evolutionary capacity”.

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