Bounty from BONHAMS!

Dr. Michael Lim The indomitable Travelling GourmetTM scrutinises rare Whiskies and fine Wines…

MALT Whisky and fine and rare wines were the topic of conversation when dapper and well groomed Daniel Lam, 39, Bonhams’ Wine Department Manager in Hong Kong, gave an exclusive interview to The Travelling GourmetTM. The occasion was the Bonhams Hong Kong 2012 Spring Auction Preview in the luxurious Grand Hyatt Hotel on Orchard Road in sunny Singapore.

The selection of premium wines was carefully sourced from all over the world. They include legendary French Burgundy & Bordeaux wines. All are from private collectors. The 300 lots with an estimated value of HK$7 million will go under the gavel on 23 May, 2012 at the Island Shangri-La Hotel in Hong Kong. For sale too are rare Single Malt Whiskies and Man’s Chan Cognac collection.

TTG (The Travelling Gourmet): What is the wine that was auctioned for the highest price and when?

DL (Daniel Lam): It was an intact case of Romanee Conti from Burgundy 1990 and it sold for HK$1.6 million (S$280,000) in November 2011.

TTG: Who was the buyer?

DL: A European buyer but I cannot disclose his name.

TTG: Is Bonhams auctioning the world’s oldest champagne recently discovered in the Baltic Sea?

DL: No, but we auctioned a Charles Heidsieck 1906 Champagne discovered in 2007 for US$3000 a bottle in 2008.

TTG: Are the buyers from China PRC?

DL: Yes, in terms of value, 50% of the buyers are PRC.

TTG: Currently, what are the trends in wines and spirits?

DL: Bordeaux has to be not so…over-priced for the next one to two years. There has been too much speculation. Now a bottle of Romanee Conti can cost 6000 Pounds Stering.

TTG: Are the buyers the ‘nouveau riche’ and ‘label drinkers’?

DL: Yes, a lot put the wines in their cellars for display. They don’t really drink them…There are also wine collectors who love wine, now more investment type buyers are coming. Before Henry Tang scrapped the tax for wines, Singapore was actually the center for the fine wine trade…now it has shifted to Hong Kong.

TTG: When it somes to wine as an investment, from my years in this industry, my advice is ‘caveat emptor’ which means in Latin, ‘buyer beware’.

Wines & Whiskies on offer

1 Decanter of the oldest Gordon & MacPhail Generations Glenlivet distilled in 1940 expected to go for HK$140,000

Antoine Hardy Perfection Cognac from the 1870s made from vines that were later destroyed by Phylloxera which makes it one of a kind, expected to go for HK$180,000.

8 bottles of Courvoisier ERTE Collection estimated at HK$120,000

2 cases (1 case has 12 bottles) Domaine Romanee Conti DRC 1988 estimated price HK$850,000

12 Bottles Chateau Petrus 1982 estimated at HK$600,000

12 bottles Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac 1982 estimated at HK$450,000

and many more…

History of Bonhams

This privately owned English auction house is one of the few surviving Georgian auction houses stared in 1793 by Thomas Dodd, an antique print dealer and Walter Bonhma, a book specialist. By 2007, Bonhams sales totalled US$600 million. The firm has a worldwide network of offices in 27 countries. Auction sales are held in San Francisco, LA, New York, Boston, Switzerland, France, Monaco, Hong Kong , Dubai and Australia. Bonhams charges a commission of 19% for wine sales whereas Christie’s charges 21%. The commission for other categories like jewellery and art pieces is 25% like other auction houses.

Sipping Perrier-Jouet Champagne Grand Brut NV and nibbling on Smoked Salmon, Crabmeat Dumplings and Foie Gras canapes, I inspected the items on offer, including a diamond and ruby studded brooch by Bulgari expected to fetch S$17,000!

Money does not bring happiness…but it has been known to cause an occasional smile… {:-)

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About thetravellinggourmet

As a renowned Travel, Food & Wine Writer he has travelled the world in a keen & indomitable pursuit of exotic delicacies & fine wines. His articles have been published in over 20 prestigious publications, both local & international. Dr. Lim has toured and trained in Wine Evaluation & Oenology in most of the world's top wine producing areas from France to Australia. The Travelling Gourmet says, "Gastronomy has no frontier. These are the gastronomic voyages of The Travelling Gourmet. My unending mission. To explore strange new cusines, to seek out new wines and new culinary experiences, to boldly go where no gourmet has gone before...." All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any other information storage & retrieval system, without permission from Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet and/or MSN. Material may be works of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents may be true but may also be products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance whatsoever to actual person or persons, either dead or living, events, or locales may be entirely and purely coincidental and unintentional. No part of this website may be used to villify others or for criminal purposes. Interests: Travel, Food, Wines, Cooking, Wine Appreciation, Parachuting, Languages, Music, Reading, Swimming, Hunting, Ballet, Fencing, Archery, Anthropology and more... The Travelling Gourmet is a copyrighted trademark. All rights and photos reserved. No part may be reproduced without permission.
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