Christie's looking to '21' for bigger numbers

NEW YORK, NY -- A stash of Prohibition-era wines from a secret cellar in New York's legendary '21' Club will be part of a selection going up for auction Saturday at Christie's International in Manhattan.

There were 640 bottles in the cellar, according to Charles Curtis, Christie’s head of North American wine sales, including rare Bordeaux and Burgundy selections.

The auction will be held at Christie's, 20 Rockefeller Center.

The company is betting that the slightly improved economy will bring up prices for fine wines. Last fall, prices dropped by as much as half, which Christie's said was the company's worst experience ever. Prices at auction are generally 10 to 20% lower than last year's best, according to Lix-ex, the London electronic wine exchange.

Among the other highlights are six bottles of 1999 Musigny, Vieilles Vignes from the famous estate of Comte Georges De Vogüé, packed in the original wooden case (estimate: $2,200-3,000); three bottles of newly-released Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s La Tâche – Vintage 2006 (estimate: $1,500-2,000); a dozen bottles of 2001 Bryant Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, packed in the original carton (estimate: $2,400-3,200); and a case of 1998 Barbaresco from Santo Stefano di Nieve (estimate: $1,000-1,500).

Go here for a detailed list of wines scheduled to be up for bids.

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