Port from 1863 sets new world auction record

Chris Mercer – Decanter – 26 March 2019

This is the second of five Lalique demijohns of the Niepoort 1863. Credit: Lalique

A newly released bottle of 156-year-old Niepoort in a Lalique crystal decanter has become the most expense Port sold at auction after fetching more than HK$1m, according to those involved in the sale.

Hong Kong’s Grand Hyatt hotel was the venue for the new Port auction record, in a sale organised by Sotheby’s.

A buyer paid HK$1.054m (US$134,000; £102,000) for the Niepoort in Lalique 1863. All proceeds will go to The Nature Conservancy charity.

The previous world record was set in November last year for a bottle of the same Port, also in Lalique, after a buyer paid HK$992,000 at an Acker, Merrall & Condit auction.

There are five Lalique demijohn decanters of the rare Niepoort 1863, each engraved with the name of one of the five generations of the van der Niepoort family, said Lalique following last weekend’s Sotheby’s auction.

Detail on the decanter shows the signature Lalique grapevine pattern. Credit: Lalique.

Two decanters have now been sold at auction, with the second a tribute to Eduard Karel Jacob van der Niepoort.

Dirk van der Niepoort, of the fifth generation and who runs the company today, said, ‘We are thrilled to achieve another landmark price for what is the oldest Port we have ever bottled.’

Silvio Denz, chairman and CEO of Lalique, said: ‘This new world record highlights the exceptional nature of the decanters and the remarkable quality of the Niepoort 1863. We are delighted that all net proceeds from the sale will benefit a charity that carries out hugely important work to preserve nature.’

There have been several auction records in recent months.

A bottle of DRC Romanée-Conti 1945 set a new record for wine in general after selling for $558,000 at a Sotheby’s sale in October 2018.

In November, Christie’s sold a bottle of The Macallan 1926 60 Year Old for £1.2m, breaking new ground for single malt Scotch whisky.

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Joelle Thomson – April tasting

Joelle hardly needs an introduction. She is well known through her significant contribution to wine literature in New Zealand. She has featured in many news and other publications as well as being a regular contributor on Radio NZ. Among her other activities, she is the Wine Programme Director and teaches wine courses at Regional Wines & Spirits in Wellington. She also does courses at the New Zealand School of Food & Wine in Auckland.

The theme for the evening will be “Top Drops under $25” Having such a well-established expert introducing good wines in the more affordable range will be welcomed by members. More next month, in the meantime, put in your diary.

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Have you heard

A man walks into a bar and ordered a glass of white wine. He took a sip of the wine, then tossed the remainder into the bartender’s face. Before the bartender could recover from the surprise, the man began weeping. “I’m really sorry. I keep doing that to bartenders. I can’t tell you how embarrassing it is to have a compulsion like this.”

Far from being angry, the bartender was sympathetic. Before long, he was suggesting that the man see a psychoanalyst about his problem. “I happen to have the name of a psychoanalyst,” the bartender said. “My brother and my wife have both been treated by him, and they say he’s as good as they come.” The man wrote down the name of the doctor, thanked the bartender, and left. The bartender smiled, knowing he’d done a good deed for a fellow human being.

Six months later, the man was back. “Did you do what I suggested?” the bartender asked, serving the glass of white wine. “I certainly did,” the man said. “I’ve been seeing the psychoanalyst twice a week.”

He took a sip of the wine. Then he threw the remainder into the bartender’s face. The flustered bartender wiped his face with a towel. “The doctor doesn’t seem to be doing you any good,” he spluttered. “On the contrary,” the man said,” he’s done me a world of good.”

“But you just threw the wine in my face again!” the bartender exclaimed. “Yes” the man said. “But it doesn’t embarrass me anymore!

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2018 Portuguese Wine & Food Tasting Recipes

Thanks to those requesting recipes from last November’s Portuguese wine & food tasting.

Pão frito (fried bread)

INGREDIENTS

  • 400 grams (14 ounces) bread cut into slices
  • 100 ml (1/2 cup) olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Coriander (to taste)

DIRECTIONS Put the olive oil and unpeeled crushed garlic in a frying pan and saute over low heat for about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the bread, season with pepper and chopped coriander and fry it on both sides over medium heat until golden brown. Turn off the heat and serve this delicious appetizer before the main course.

Figos, presunto e queijo de cabra (figs, ham and goat cheese)

Hands-on time 10min. Cooking time about 10 min. Makes 20. INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • Vegetable oil, to grease
  • 5 figs, cut into quarters
  • 10 slices Parma Ham, sliced in half lengthways
  • 100g (3 1/2oz) hard Goat’s Cheese

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan). Mix together the balsamic vinegar and honey together in a small bowl. Grease a baking sheet and place the figs skin side down onto it, then drizzle over the balsamic mixture carefully covering each fig. Roast for 10min. Allow to cool slightly. Cut cheese into small pieces and top each fig with a piece of cheese. Wrap each fig in a length of Parma ham. Serve at room temperature.

HINTS:

We can use Melon if figs are not in season. Can also substitute blue cheese or parmesan if you can’t get a HARD goat’s cheese Part of the joy of this dish is the balsamic vinegar pairing with the parma ham.

Camarão alho (garlic shrimps)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Ibs shrimp, raw and peeled, no tails
  • 1/2 cup margarine (or butter)
  • 6 garlic cloves, fresh and crushed
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (can use white cooking wine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 lemon (need about 1 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice)

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350 degrees For two pounds of raw, peeled shrimp, saute one stick margarine (I use butter) with six cloves of crushed garlic, slowly on low heat, do not burn the garlic! Then add 1/2 Cup dry white wine (can use cooking wine), 1/2 Crushed Red Pepper, 1/2 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice Place raw, peeled shrimp in a 21/2 quart casserole dish and pour the sauce over the shrimp, cover and bake 20 minutes You’re done! Serve over yellow or white rice or alone with plenty of bread

HINTS

2lb is almost a kilo of shrimps, although I would use peeled and tailed prawns – but frozen from the supermarket. 350 degrees is a fraction under 180 C Bring in a dish that we can warm in the oven and then spoon out into the serving dishes and send out with toothpicks

Bolas de frango com molho de piri piri (chicken balls with a piri piri sauce)

Suggest you go to the supermarket and buy pre-made chicken balls and a bottle of Nando’s Peri-Peri Sauce. Then simply fry the chicken balls in a ½ inch of oil heated medium-high
Turn occasionally to ensure browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Transfer chicken balls to bowl. Add sauce and toss until covered then serve with toothpicks.

Carne vinho d’alhos (beef in a wine and garlic marinade)

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 to4 clove fresh garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Portuguese paprika [I used smoked]
  • 1 tsp coarse salt or to taste
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp Portuguese olive oil
  • 1 c red (or white wine or equal amounts of both.
  • 1 Tbsp fresh minced crushed red pepper.

METHOD

Using your chef knife (or any knife smash the garlic cloves and finely chopped. ADD all dry ingredients one at a time. BLENDING well, drizzle in 1 tablespoon olive oil .  Then RUB the meat with the spices mixture and place in a nonreactive dish. POUR the wine over the meat to partially or entirely cover it, depending on the recipe. MARINATE the meat, turning occasionally, for several hours. It’s best to marinade overnight in the refrigerator or even 24 hrs for better results

HINTS:

For the meat, I used Rump Steak which marinated well. Sirloin would also have been OK. Be sure to pat dry before grilling or frying else you risk poaching the steak because of the excess marinade liquid. I used the BBQ which gave an extra smokiness. Watch your cooking time as it will vary depending upon the thickness of the steak. I had the plate super hot and did just under 2 mins a side. For one of the thinner pieces, it was about 90 secs a side. If not sure, I suggest trying a small sample first. The aim is for a hint of pink in the middle but obviously one can adjust to personal tastes if doing this as a meal. Be sure to rest the steak. Slice thinly if serving as hors d-oeuvres. The dish name literally means meat in wine and garlic. More often, the recipe uses pork and white wine, but our choice is just as valid.

Committee celebrate the end of 2018

Another successful Cellar Club year started with a BBQ, several tastings, the AGM, another tasting, then mid-year dinner, followed by several more tastings, then finally a very successful end-of-year dinner. 

In upholding tradition, and as a way of celebrating the committees’ work throughout the year, the club’s President hosts an end of year celebration for committee, partners and guests. Each year we celebrate by sampling each other’s favourite wines along with a grand selection of food. This year we were fortunate to sample many labels who have presented to the club and some who have not.  The wines came from the labels La Cilla, Hunters, Clearview, Ruby Bay, Alpha Domus, Awatere River, Rapaura Springs, Lindauer, Okahu Estate, Tyrells, Old Coach Road, Olssens, Ransom, Dry River, Rod MacDonald, Rockburn, and Ash Ridge. A large and diverse range that could have gone down well at any tasting.

Thanks to our gracious hosts, club President Murray and Dina, who organised (with the gods) great weather for the event, along with the committee, wishes members and guests a joyous and safe Christmas. We look forward to seeing you all during 2019 starting with the BBQ in January. Details to come.

Koa Kirihimete
Merry Christmas

From the committee

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Unison Vineyard – Terry Horn – June 2018

Yet another great tasting from a Hawkes Bay winemaker. The night was cold and wet but we were well pleased with the attendance.

Terry from Unison presented a selection of their wines which the committee felt were brilliant. Terry gave a very informative talk with a great pitch.

The wines presented were well received with good orders arising from the night. Terry enjoyed the evening as did the members attending.

The wines included:

  • 2016 Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2016 Reserve Chardonnay
  • 2017 Rose
  • 2015 Rocky Red
  • 2012 Reserve Merlot
  • 2013 Classic Red
  • 2013 Syrah

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Mid Year Dinner – Saigon Van Grill Bar – July 2018

We are going to try a change of pace with a Vietnamese offering for the mid-year dinner. This is a well-respected establishment and many members have enjoyed well-respectedThe response at the AGM was very positive and we are sure that the event will be well supported by members. More detail in the next newsletter.

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It’s Official: French Fries Pair Best with Champagne

Moët & Chandon calls the salty, crunchy snack one of the best things to eat with bubbly, and our wine editor agrees.

Mike Pomranz | April 19, 2018

Everyone likes Champagne—if only because it’s the quintessential, upmarket celebratory drink. But for that exact reason, some people can be unsure when to drink Champagne. Weddings, graduations and holidays are obvious choices. And if you’re Biggie Smalls, when you’re thirsty also qualifies. But is ordering Champagne during an otherwise ordinary meal posh or just pretentious?

For bigtime Champagne producers like Moët & Chandon, this question is about more than just image: moving more Champagne boosts their bottom line. So clearly, it behooves the brand to remind drinkers that you don’t need to wait until your golden anniversary to pop a bottle of Brut. Along those lines, Marie-Christine Osselin, Moët & Chandon’s wine quality and communication manager, recently told The Drinks Business that one of the best possible pairings for bubbly is one of the most common sides on the planet: French fries.

According to Osselin, Champagne’s acidity and bubbles make for an excellent complement to fries saltiness and crunch. In fact, regardless of whether the cuisine is low-brow or high-brow, Osselin insisted that simplicity is the key. “Champagne is a wine that asks for simple ingredients, no more than three,” she was quoted as saying.

Of course, it’s easy to be skeptical: If you were trying to move $50 bottles of wine, you’d probably say they pair well with every food under the sun. But Food & Wine wine editor/guru Ray Isle actually completely agrees with Osselin’s assertion. “I’ve been saying this for years, as have many, many sommeliers,” he explained.

“Basically, salt and fat plus high acid and bubbles equals a great combo,” Isle continued, giving Champagne and French fries the mathematical treatment. “Fries, potato chips—hell—fried pork rinds would work too. But I don’t think you’re going to get the folks at Moët to suggest pairing their champagne with fried pork rinds—that’s too down-home for them, for sure.”

Moët won’t say it, but apparently we will. Grab your Champagne and pork rinds! Is it college football season yet?!

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Chilled red wines and warmer white wines have more flavour

Wine is a complicated beast, but best rules to follow are: chill your reds lightly and let your whites warm a little.
Wine is a complicated beast, but best rules to follow are: chill your reds lightly and let your whites warm a little.

Thomas Heaton | January 25 2018

Kiwis are drinking their red wines too warm and our whites too cold, according to expert sommeliers.

Refrigeration leaves white too cold, and chances are red is too warm in the current summer weather.

Wellington wine bar Noblerot served its wines at a range of temperatures according to the varietal; the prime range for red wine was between 18 and 22 degrees.

Noblerot Chef Joshua Dodd with co-owner and sommelier Maciej Zimny

Co-owner and sommelier Maciej Zimny said lighter, fruitier reds, such as pinot noir, lent themselves to being chilled to the bottom of that range.

During warmer summer weather, Zimny recommended chilling red wine from up to 10 minutes before serving, which would reduce the temperature by between three and five degrees.

“When you taste the wine, at a lower temperature it seems complete,” he said.

“Even when it’s slightly colder that it should be it will provide much more pleasure.”

That’s because of the alcoholic smell was exaggerated when it was warm, which was unappetising, according sommelier at Auckland’s French Cafe, Stephanie Guth.

She said. however, the sight of a chilled red wine was odd for customers.

“You want to do it justice but it’s such a weird thing for people to see, red wine in an ice bucket, even though you know it might benefit from it,” Guth said.

Twenty minutes in an ice-bucket before opening and drinking might help to boost the flavour in a pinot noir.

“The more complex the wine you have, the warmer it should be served,” Zimny said, referring to rich red wines such as merlot or Bordeaux varietals.

Conversely white wine should be served chilled, however complex oaky chardonnays should be served slightly warmer than other whites.

So chardonnay’s flavours lent better to slightly warmer temperatures than sauvignon blanc, about 14 degrees as opposed to 10 degrees, because it was important to make sure oak flavours were prominent.

Pinot noir and chardonnay hailed from the Burgundy region of France, and both were classically stored in the same cellar under the same conditions. He said wines have either been served too warm or too cold since the invention of refrigerators.

Cellar temperature was perceived as something quite different to what was initially intended, room temperature, Guth said.

Leaving white wine to warm up slightly released flavours hidden by colder temperatures.

“It doesn’t harm the wine but you tend to get a little more out of the aromas.”

The only reason one should drink a bottle straight out of the fridge was “if you don’t want to taste your wine”, she said.

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The year in retrospec

Our year

It is usual at this time to review our year. As ever we began with our summer BBQ at the end of January. The usual excellent occasion and thanks to Derek for making his premises available. It is an excellent facility. Our first tasting was the Rosė tasting presented by Will Brunel-Morven from Maison Vauron. Rosės are becoming increasingly popular, particularly as a summer wine.March was the time for Ata Rangi and was followed in April by our Quiz Night. An enjoyable and fun occasion. As usual, May was AGM time, June highlighted Giesen’s Wines and July was dinner at Bistro 52. August had us enjoying Seifried’s offerings and then in September the interesting and unique Aged Wines tasting. October was Stonecroft and last month was the festive tasting of Spanish wines. A great programme which will be nicely rounded off by our December Dinner.

Spanish tasting

It is interesting to note that EuroVintage had great orders from the Spanish tasting, and were blown away by the response. Well done everyone.

Cheers
Robin Semmens, Editor

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