Sotheby’s June 15-16 Wine Sale Features Private Collection of Bordeaux and Burgundy

An Impressive Private Collection of great wines from France, put together by a British collector, is to lead Sotheby’s London sale of Finest and Rarest Wines on Wednesday, 15 and Thursday, 16 June, 2011. The collection, which comprises 710 lots and forms the first day of this two-day auction, is estimated to realise in excess of £870,000.

First Growths 2005. Photo: Sotheby’s.

The second session of the sale will offer a superlative case of Le Pin, in magnum format, recently removed from the underground cellar of a beautiful English stately home. Only 19 magnum cases were made of this exceptional vintage, presenting an unrivalled opportunity to acquire this mythical wine. The two-day sale will feature over 1000 lots and is expected to bring in the region of £1.7 million.

Serena Sutcliffe MW, Worldwide Head of Wine at Sotheby’s, said: “It is a special honour to be able to offer such a complete range of great wines from France from a British collector who clearly has a deep love of the subject. His selection process has been unerring in its pursuit of quality and the wines in this sale are truly mouth-watering. Fans of Bordeaux and Burgundy will wish to take time to see the full array of wines in this collection as they might well find gems that they had always wanted but could never acquire.”

Red Bordeaux runs from 1982 to 2007, with all the vintages in between, while red Burgundy spans the years 1983 to 2007. Lovers of white Burgundy will be tempted by superb vintages from the most iconic Domaines, and those with a palate for dry white Bordeaux and delectable Sauternes will not be disappointed. This important collection has come to the market as part of a ‘pruning’ operation and presents an opportunity for collectors to fill their cellars with wines of great pedigree that have been perfectly, and professionally, stored. Almost all the lots are full cases in original wood, in both bottle and magnum size.

The first lot of the sale is indicative of the quality of the collection: 12 bottles of Château Margaux 1982, estimated at £7,200?9,000. When tasted recently by Serena Sutcliffe, she describes its “deeply scented bouquet of wild herbs and smoky blackcurrants”. Super Seconds abound throughout the collection, for instance, 12 bottles of Château Ducru Beaucaillou 1982, come to auction in pristine condition, with an estimate of £2,000?2,600 per lot (lots 4?5). Characterised as having a “huge depth of flavour which unfolds in multidimensional fashion”(SS), these lots will provide collectors with an opportunity they will not want to miss. Château Lafite 1989 really stands out in the middle of a stunning trio of Lafites. The complexity of the wine is evident in the tasting note by Serena Sutcliffe, with adjectives of “meaty, spicy, rich nose, heady and exotic… silky, rich, dense and blackcurranty… smoky too… almost minty/chocolatey in flavour”. 12 bottles are estimated at £6,800?7,800 per lot (26). The 1990 First Growths are considered among the most starry, and Château Latour is no exception. Described as “wonderfully elegant”at 20 years old, 12 bottles are estimated at £6,000?7,000 per lot (39). Complementing the array of 1990s are 12 bottles of Château Margaux 1990 (estimate £7,200?9,000 per lot [lot 40]) ? a “true First Growth beauty”with “irreproachable class.”(SS)

These stunning wines are interspersed by wonderful and more affordable Bordeaux, including the “top flight”Château Léoville Poyferré 1996 (estimate £600?700 for six magnums [lot 92]) and the “very glossy, very imposing” (SS) Château Troplong Mondot 1998 (estimate £600?700 per lot of 12 bottles [lots 131?132]). Among the sublime 2000s are Château Rauzan Ségla (estimate £520?600 per 12 bottles [lot 149]), with its classic Cabernet Sauvignon nose, six magnums of Château Margaux (estimate £8,000?10,000 [lot 146]), 12 bottles of Château Haut Brion (estimate £5,500?6,500 [lot 147]) and 12 bottles of Château Cheval Blanc (estimate £7,200?8,500 [lot 171]), a “stunning charmer”. (SS)

Lot 188 consists of 12 bottles of Château Mouton Rothschild 2001, estimate £2,800?3,400, a wine with a great life in front of it, according to Serena Sutcliffe. Vying for attention is Château Cheval Blanc 2001, estimated at £2,400?3,000 per lot of 12 bottles (lots 220?222), which displays the extraordinary freshness that characterises the 2001 Right Bank vintage. 2005 produced some absolute gems, and this collection boasts an exceptional choice from 31 different châteaux: they include Château Lafite 2005, 12 bottles per lot, estimate £10,000?14,000 (lots 297?298), “an absolute ‘must have’”(SS); 12 bottles of Château Latour 2005, lot 299, estimate £7,500?9,000; 12 bottles of Château Margaux 2005, lots 301?302, estimate £6,200?7,500 per lot; 12 bottles of Château Haut Brion 2005, lots 303?304, estimate £5,200?6,500 per lot; 12 bottles of Château Mouton Rothschild 2005, lots 305?306, estimate £4,600?6,000 per lot, “one of the greatest Clarets ever made” (SS); 12 bottles of Château Léoville Barton 2005, lots 320?321, estimate £620?750 per lot ? “a very ‘grand vin’ nose… This has a long way to go”(SS).

The collection includes a superb range of dry white Bordeaux, such as Château Haut Brion Blanc 2000, estimate £1,200?1,500 per six bottles (lot 391), Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 2000, estimate £400?500 per 12 bottles (lot 393), and Pavillon Blanc du Château Margaux 2005, estimate £850?1,000 per lot of 12 bottles (lots 403?404).

The line?up from Burgundy is no less impressive, and in this section of the sale, individual growers really shine.

Red Burgundy
From Domaine de la Romanée?Conti, there are two jeroboams of La Tâche 1983, estimate £2,200?2,800 per lot (lots 410?411), with complex notes of date jam, deep fruit and leaf intensity, and heavy roast coffee beans at the end, and the sought after La Tâche 1999, estimate £11,000?14,000 per six bottles (lot 486), with its extraordinary depth and grandeur. (Lots 410 and 486)

From Armand Rousseau, there is the mouth?watering Chambertin 2005, estimate £6,000?7,000 per 12 bottles (lot 585); from Domaine Georges Roumier, Bonnes Mares 1999, estimate £2,200?2,600 per six bottles (lot 484); from Domaine Ponsot, Clos de la Roche, Cuvée Vieilles Vignes 1990, estimate £4,600?5,500 per lot of 12 bottles (lot 414), a classy vintage with the “glorious, pure scent of a Grand Cru in full flight”(SS); from Georges & Henri Jayer, Echézeaux 1995, estimate £5,000?8,000 per lot of 12 bottles (lot 427); from Domaine Simon Bize, Latricières Chambertin 1999, estimate £820?1,000 per lot of 12 bottles (lot 483).

White Burgundy
From Bonneau du Martray, Corton Charlemagne 2006, estimate £600?700 per 12 bottles (lot 680), with its lemon, buttery nose and honied taste; from Domaine des Comtes Lafon, Meursault, Genevrières 2005, estimate £1,100?1,500 per 12 bottles (lot 672); from Domaine Leflaive, Puligny Montrachet, Les Pucelles 1992, estimate £1,100?1,600 per 12 bottles (lot 622), and from Domaine Raveneau, the highly regarded Chablis 1er Cru, Butteaux, 2001, estimate £600?700 per 12 bottles (lot 647).

Session Two will take place the following day and will offer some fabulous rarities of cast?iron provenance. Opening the session is a wonderful selection of Châteaux Lafite and Mouton Rothschild shipped direct from the Châteaux to the country house cellar of a gentleman, where they have been perfectly stored. The collection features Château Lafite 1945, estimated at £900?1,200 per bottle (lot 713) ? 1945 has been hailed as one of the greatest vintages of Château Lafite, with an ethereal and all?conquering Lafite quality. A legend in its own lifetime is Château Mouton Rothschild 1982, “the ultimate come?hither First Growth” (SS), and this collection features two magnums at £3,000?4,000 per lot (lot 715) and 12 bottles at £9,000?13,000 per lot (lot 714). The stunning array of Lafite continues with a number of large formats, including magnums and double magnums of Château Lafite 1985, estimate £3,200?3,600 per 3 magnums (lot 718) and £7,000?9,000 per 3 double magnums (lot 719). An imperial of Château Mouton Rothschild 1986, comes to the market with an estimate of £4,000?5,000 per lot (lot 723). Various formats of Château Lafite 1989 include 12 bottles estimated at £6,800?7,800 per lot (lot 726), two magnums estimated at £2,000?2,600 per lot (lot 727) and two imperials estimated at £4,600?5,200 each (lots 728?729). Château Lafite 1990 was described by Serena Sutcliffe in 2010 as having deeper aromatics on the nose than the 1989 vintage, and this collection includes 12 bottles estimated at £7,500?9,000 per lot (lots 732?733).

The star lot of the sale is unarguably a superlative case of Le Pin 1982 in the ultra rare magnum format, recently removed from the underground cellar of a beautiful English stately home. This case, one of only 19 produced in this exceptional vintage, was bought en primeur from a highly respected UK wine merchant. It is an opportunity to acquire one of the most sought after wines ever produced, and therefore not to be missed. The six magnums, to be offered in a single lot (lot 738), are estimated at £50,000?60,000. Le Pin is a product of the plateau of Pomerol’s predominantly clay soil, low yields and the skills and perfectionism of the Thienpont family. Serena Sutcliffe has classed it as “the Holy Grail of the Merlot grape, the nec plus ultra”, with a voluptuous character and enormous upfront appeal.

Lovers of Château Pétrus will be spoilt for choice: 12 bottles of the 1982 vintage are estimated at £36,000?44,000 per lot (lots 759 and 793), and 12 bottles of the 1989 vintage are estimated at £24,000?30,000 per lot (lot 783). Of equal prominence are six bottles of Romanée Conti 1990, Domaine de la Romanée Conti, estimate £36,000?46,000 per lot (lots 796?797), “a great wine, the epitome of Romanée Conti silkiness” (SS).

An amazing collection of very rare 2.5 litre Marie?Jeannes, all from the 1985 vintage, concludes the sale. Shipped from the cellar of a highly regarded Continental wine writer and bon viveur, these rare formats have their own story to tell. The vendor unearthed a stock of this unusual bottle?size, now no longer produced, in a forgotten corner of a Bordeaux glass merchant, and he then used his contacts with châteaux owners to persuade them to fill them. A Marie?Jeanne of Château Margaux 1985 is estimated at £750?900 (lot 919), the same format of Château Cheval Blanc 1985 is estimated at £780?950 (lot 942), and a Marie?Jeanne of Château Angélus 1985 is estimated at £240?280 (lot 943).

* Pre?sale estimates do not include buyer’s premium

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