Vintage South African red wines from the mid-20th century were in high demand at Sunday’s Strauss & Co Virtual Online auction, showcasing an ultra-rare treasure trove from the Tabernacle cellar. GS 1966 reached R43,244 per bottle while the 1968 was sold at a record price of R34,140 per bottle all including commissions. Recently, Christian Eedes awarded the GS 1968, 95 points, while the 1966 famously received 20/20 from Jancis Robinson.
The underground Tabernacle cellar is the historic home to Distell’s wine library, the largest collection of vintage South African wines. ‘Very little South African wine from this era exists today, especially since some are 80 years old.’ Explains Strauss & Co wine specialist Roland Peens. Each bottle was tasted and recorked under a leading cork supplier, Amorim, to preserve the quality. The new corks are taint free and will allow these rare wines to be cellared for many more decades.
The proceeds from the sale are to be used for a ‘Wine history preservation initiative in honour of Duimpie Bayly‘, says Tabernacle curator Michael van Deventer. Strauss & Co partner and wine specialist Higgo Jacobs added that ‘Strauss & Co is proud to be a part of this regenerative exercise by Distell. These wines lend gravitas to our efforts to elevate the secondary market for South African fine wine.’
Further highlights include Lanzerac’s first commercial vintage of Pinotage 1959, showing competitive bidding up to R18,760 per bottle. Zonnebloem’s famous 1963 Cabernet, awarded 96 points from Tim Atkin MW and 97 points from Christian Eedes reached R16 415. Perhaps the rarest wine of the 99-lot line-up was an unreleased bottle of Meerlust 1978. This preceding wine to the now-famous Meerlust Rubicon fetched R15 243 per bottle, while Nederburg’s Cabernet Sauvignon Auction Reserve from the great 1974 vintage reached R12 518.
While Sunday’s prices break new records and reach new levels for South African wines, historic wines in this era from other wine-producing countries are more pricey. ‘We have reached a point where fine and rare wines start at $1,000 per bottle and the rarest, such as the first vintage of Penfolds Grange, 1951, is closer to $100,000 per bottle.’ Added Roland Peens. A small selection of international vintage wines was also on offer, including 67 and 71 Chateau Petrus, reaching R73,970 per bottle.
Strauss & Co Fine Wine Auctions is a partnership between WineCellar.co.za and Higgo Jacobs, formed in 2019. There are 15 online and virtual Strauss & Co fine wine auctions in 2022. For more information see www.straussart.co.za/wine