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At Heritage Auctions, a Record Price for the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon That Made History in 1976


DALLAS, Texas (March 15, 2022) – Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 1973 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon made history again during Heritage Auctions’ $2.55 million Wine Signature® Auction, held March 10-11 in Beverly Hills.

A single bottle of the wine that “won” the Judgment of Paris in May 1976 and put Napa Valley on the world’s wine map sold for $12,300, more than three times the highest price ever paid for the landmark vintage. It was purchased by someone who wishes to remain anonymous, if only so the buyer’s father – a wine collector – doesn’t know he will be receiving it for his birthday later this summer.

“This is very special for us,” says the winning bidder. Indeed: This wine is so special that the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of American History has a bottle of 1973 S.L.V Cabernet Sauvignon in its permanent collection. There is but a precious handful remaining in Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ esteemed collection.

Says Frank Martell, Senior Director of Fine & Rare Wines at Heritage Auctions, “With this auction, the two most expensive cabernet-based wines produced in the last 61 years are wines from California, not France, including the first vintage of Screaming Eagle that sold at Heritage Auctions last September for $14,760. And, most important, with this auction we have single-handedly affirmed the Judgment of Paris – again.”

The bottle was offered during the first night of the two-day event as one of nearly 4,000 bottles from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ vaunted Legacy Collection. Not only did the event mark the first time a California winery of this stature has opened its library at this level to Heritage, but it surpassed all expectations: The Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ Legacy Collection realized nearly $600,000 during the event, nearly twice pre-auction estimates.

In fact, Martell says, “56% of all Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars lots sold at or above the high estimate, most of which were world records.”

The Legacy Collection wines offered in the March 10 auction included almost all the vintages Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars has ever made of its Estate-Grown Cabernet Sauvignons (FAY, S.L.V. and CASK 23), as well as ARTEMIS Cabernet Sauvignon and the Napa Valley Merlot. Some of the highlights of this auction included CASK 23 Cabernet Sauvignon 1985, a Melchior of which realized $9,840; 12 bottles of S.L.V. from 1972, which brought $5,658 (nearly five times estimate); and a Melchior of CASK 23 Cabernet Sauvignon 1991, which sold for $5,227.50.

“For more than 50 years, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars has sought to create benchmark wines from the Napa Valley,” says Marcus Notaro, winemaker for Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. “Each vintage, we set aside a small amount of our production to age and enjoy over time. This auction was the first time we’ve opened up our library at this level, and we are thankful to all the collectors and bidders who turned out and showed the pent-up demand for our high quality and age-worthy wines. We hope our legacy collection wines will be enjoyed to their fullest.”

More than 700 bidders from around the world participated in the March 10-11 auction.

The event’s second night saw numerous offerings from other renowned wineries surpass pre-auction estimates, chief among them a 2000 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Richebourg Jeroboam that realized $27,060. It came from the Annapolis Collection, the entirety of which has remained in one location; was stored in the collector’s deeply dug temperature-controlled wine cellar; and has barely seen the light of day until now.

Not far behind was a double magnum of Château Pétrus 2005 Pomerol likewise from The Annapolis Collection, which sold for $23,370, nearly doubling surpassing pre-auction estimates.

Other stand-outs from the auction include a single bottle of 2017 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanee-Conti from the Texas-based La Cave Collection realized $20,295; an Imperial of 2000 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac, which sold for $19,065; and a Salmanazar of Chateau Cheval Blanc 2000 St. Emilion that topped estimates when it sold for $17,220.

For complete results from Heritage Auctions’ March 10-11 Wine Signature® Auction, click here.

Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.

Heritage also enjoys the highest Online traffic and dollar volume of any auction house on earth (source: SimilarWeb and Hiscox Report). The Internet’s most popular auction-house website, HA.com, has more than 1,500,000 registered bidder-members and searchable free archives of five million past auction records with prices realized, descriptions and enlargeable photos. Reproduction rights routinely granted to media for photo credit.

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