Some of Napa Valley’s Greatest Wines Are Heading to Auction Next Month

If pandemic era cellar-raiding left a few holes in your verticals of Screaming Eagle and Harlan and finding replacements is a challenge, Christie’s upcoming auction has you covered. For the first time in more than 20 years, the renowned auction house’s wine department is holding an online event entitled California Only Auction, offering a rare opportunity to acquire both cult and classic labels from Napa and beyond. Offerings showcase a high concentration of birth or anniversary year bottle options such as 1968, 1969, 1985, 1994, and more recent bottlings from the aughts and beyond.

“As many older wines are consumed, they become rare and hard to find, and we are delighted to be able to offer vintages back to the ‘60s in the sale,” Chris Munro, head of Christie’s fine wine and spirits department in the Americas, tells Robb Report. “As these gems from past decades become scarce, they become more desirable to collectors who understand that their quality means they can age beautifully.”

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Held in Los Angeles, the online auction runs September 1 to 13. It features 141 lots, including many single bottles, that are expected to fetch more than $600,000. Among the eye-popping listings is the largest ever single-owner collection of Screaming Eagle to arrive to auction, which is represented by more than 20 vintages including hard-to-find magnums and multiple vintages of The Flight, the winery’s scarce “second label,” which is made in even smaller quantities than the original.

Two other sought-after collectibles on the block are Groth 1985 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon in almost impossible to find six- and three-liter bottles and an entire case of magnums of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 1985 Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon. Those who like to buy in quantity will appreciate the availability of a full case of Beaulieu Vineyards 1968 Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon purchased from “The Magnificent Collection of Mr. Henry E. Singleton” at Christie’s Los Angeles in April 2000. The collection also includes bottles of Heitz Martha’s Vineyard from 1968 and 1969 and a large range of vintages from Harlan Estate.

Collectors who branch out from Napa and Cabernet Sauvignon may be interested in a six-bottle assortment of Syrah- and Grenache-based Sine Qua Non from Ventura County. The auction concludes with numerous vintages of Opus One, said to be the first California cult wine to be sold internationally, and 10 vintages of Scarecrow, which has achieved record-breaking sales figures at other wine auctions, presented here in three-bottle original wooden cases.

“Having seen a strong increase in demand for both young and mature California wines since opening our sale site in California we felt the next step would be to re-introduce our ‘California Only’ sales,” Munro says. “These focused, well-curated sales offer any collector of California wines the ideal opportunity to purchase cult wines alongside mature and rare offerings from some of California’s greatest producers.”

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