The last wines from the cellar of celebrated Burgundy maker Henri Jayer have been sold off in a wildly successful auction hosted by Baghera Wines in Geneva.
Well over a thousand bottles of varying types and vintages were featured. The total as the June 17 sale closed was a phenomenal $34.7m.
Jayer (1922-2006) was in his teens when he began his winemaking career. A local politician and vintner, Etienne Camuzet, asked him to take care of his vineyard while he was away during the war. Jayer got the bug and began refining the traditional techniques he’d been shown.
He went on to study at the University of Lyon and started releasing wines under his own label in the 1950s (he retired in 2001). The star of this auction was a magnum of 1978 Cros-Parantoux 1er Cru, which realised around $145,381. A single bottle of the enduringly popular Richebourg 1986 made $50,883.
The bottles were consigned by Jayer’s daughters, who inherited his estate after his death. While there may be a few more bottles left in the family vaults, this is the last consignment to come to auction directly from Jayer’s cellar.
Wine is extremely delicate and must be stored in a carefully controlled environment to ensure the quality remains high decades on from its bottling.
A spokesperson for Baghera Wines told Decanter.com how each of the bottles was carefully checked prior to the sale. “Henri Jayer was known to be obsessively cautious and meticulous with the corks he used, choosing his cork manufacturers with great rigour but like in any domaine’s cellar, after 30 years, some corks may be more fragile than others,” they said.
“If levels are important for an old bottle of wine, the colour of the wine is the key. We agreed to sell these wines because the colour was fantastic and, in our opinion, still great for consumption.”