Sotheby’s is honored to present Rare Domaine de la Romanée-Conti from the Personal Cellar of Robert Drouhin in a dedicated auction of 100 lots on 13 October 2018 in New York. This historic offering of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti is emerging after more than 50 years in the cellar of Mr. Robert Drouhin, patriarch of the family-run Maison Joseph Drouhin, who is internationally recognized as one of the wine industry’s most renowned figures.
A NOTE FROM ROBERT DROUHIN
1937, 1938 Romanée-Conti and La Tâche, how many memories are linked to this period and these great names! How many meals at home with the great restaurateurs: Mr. Point - La Pyramide in Vienne, Mr. Vaudable – restaurant Maxim’s, .... discussing all the subtle differences. How many memories at the foot of the Romanée-Conti estate or in the cellars with Mr. Noblet, how many memories with my father Maurice Drouhin, proud to mature these wines, happy to educate me with true quality and awareness of luxury!
These wines are testimony of Burgundy, of its fundamental values linked to history and tradition: integrity, work, patience, quality, ...
It is both with regret and pleasure that I share these bottles. Regret even though there remain some for my children and friends but mainly pleasure as those who will purchase these bottles, apart from the appreciation of quality and the true luxury they convey, they will receive a testimony of my family and Burgundy at its very best.
– Robert J. Drouhin
THE PERSONAL CELLAR OF ROBERT DROUHIN
By Serena Sutcliffe, MW
When contemplating this extraordinary collection of some of Burgundy’s greatest wines, it occurred to me that the sub-title of the sale could be When History Meets Integrity. The historical importance is the array of the most stunning vintages from the last century, concentrated on two fabulous estates, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and the Grand Cru holdings of the illustrious Drouhin family. The integrity is linked to the renown and reputation of Robert Drouhin, who has kept these wines with the utmost care and devotion, drinking some with family and friends over the decades and protecting a proportion for others to experience and love as much as he himself has done.
We are immensely honoured that Robert Drouhin has chosen Sotheby’s to handle this unique sale and we approach it with the same respect that he has shown for both his profession and his region’s wines, over a lifetime of work and achievement. This is a man who was called very young to a position of enormous responsibility within the family and who fulfilled his destiny as a pillar of the Burgundian wine trade in a way that is deeply admirable. Both vineyard owner and négociant, he has seen and understood every aspect of his region’s development over the decades, contributing to the general good as well as bringing on a formidable new generation of Drouhins, in the form of his four children. I first met Robert Drouhin in the Seventies, scarcely daring to talk to him, and it has been a privilege and a pleasure to see each other, taste wines and share views ever since. What has always struck me about Robert is his honesty, his direct approach and his absolute ‘feel’ for what constitutes a wine that is a true reflection of its vineyard and the best expression of its origin.
The many years during which the Drouhin family were the exclusive distributors in France and Belgium for the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti gave them a great understanding of these breathtaking wines that are so full of individual character and beauty that they astound us every time we come into contact with them. Those of us who are lucky enough to follow the superb contemporary vintages of the Domaine are probably, also, the first to accept that its wines from the Thirties, Forties, Fifties and Sixties are especially remarkable. Family managers change, methods and equipment can be modified, even the nuances of climate vary, but these ‘divine’ vineyards, part of France’s vinous patrimony, have something ‘different’, a dimension, a spark, a complexity - the ability to enchant. The depth of the Domaine’s wines is all here. And I have the taste of La Tâche 1961 in my mouth now, a few months after sharing a bottle at lunch with Robert.
This was paired with Musigny 1961 from the Drouhin Domaine, a wine that touches every olfactory sensation. We have in this sale a precious few of these landmark bottles from that magic trio of vintages, 1959, 1961 and 1962, in the family’s flagship Grands Crus. Robert Drouhin’s knowledge of wines and how they evolve and develop tells him that they cannot be kept forever in a state of suspension - although the blazing beauty of the wines we tasted from his cellar belie their age. Meticulously stored and registered, we at first gazed in disbelief at what we were seeing! And such memories were revived - La Tâche 1952, drunk, for example, with that great Burgundy man, Harry Yoxall, and those endless discussions and revisits to the glass in an effort to pin down why the scent and finish of Romanée Conti are in a world of their own.
Now it is time for more people to seize the moment and to take advantage of an exceptionally rare opportunity to drink Burgundian history.