It had been on my list of wine regions to visit for decades, but I finally made it to the Douro Valley just this past summer, on a trip with my family. What had kept me from going before? It must have been the feeling that the destination, home to the legendary port houses, was remote and difficult to navigate. What I found, however, was that I had been holding on to an outdated image of the Douro and that this incredibly beautiful valley is now a growing centre for wine tourism. From Lisbon, we drove three hours north and checked in at The Yeatman, the luxury hotel owned by the Fladgate Partnership, which also owns Taylor’s, Fonseca and Croft, three of the great port houses. Fladgate Partnership CEO Adrian Bridge has been a leader in making the Douro a friendly place to visit.
Last Night at Sotheby’s: A Taste of Bordeaux
LONDON – This collection is both classic and exciting, a reflection of the man who loved and enjoyed it over many decades. The owner had very sure taste and his wide-ranging interests and appreciation of beauty and quality in all their forms are very evident. He was passionate about art and gastronomy, as well as being an œnophile of great distinction. The cellar was assembled over many years with infinite care and knowledge, always alighting upon the best crus, vineyards, producers and vintages, making the collection exceptional in every way. PARTIAL VIEW OF THE CELLAR. France was undoubtedly the "ultimate" for this connoisseur and the range of majestic top Bordeaux is immensely impressive. The First and Super Second Growths abound, in great vintages and with bottle age, and in all the splendid formats. Both Right and Left Banks are here in force and there are extraordinary opportunities for hosting vertical tastings and unforgettable dinner parties for those who acquire these wines. In fact, buyers who love entertaining in this way will be following in the footsteps of the owner of this collection, who was renowned for giving memorable dinners for his family and friends. Nothing pleased him more than inviting fellow wine-lovers to wine and food occasions that they would never forget, often accompanied by just the right music. There is a plethora of original wooden cases, as well as bottles that were cellared, including those from landmark vintages such as 1945, 1959 and 1961. This is a spectacular, star-studded array from the most prominent wine region of the world. LA MISSION HAUT BRION 1961, 6 BOTTLES. ESTIMATE: £5,500–6,500. The same unerring quest for perfection was pursued in the Burgundy collection, where the list of growers is show-stopping, from DRC to Rousseau, Leflaive to Leroy, de Vogüé to Prieuré-Roch. This is a real treasure trove of vintages that are ready to drink, always a temptation for the impatient. The Rhône wines are a catalogue of gems, from Chave to Rayas to grand Guigal. The Champagnes include historic vintages for true "amateurs," scents and flavours that make my mouth water. However, it can be immediately seen that this remarkable collector did not confine himself to France, for here you will find the aristocrats from Italy and Spain. As a committed fanatic of Vega Sicilia, it is a joy to survey a selection of legendary vintages of this ultra complex wine, while Piedmont is represented strongly amongst the Italian wines, synchronising with the season for white truffles! There is also a splash of top Californian wine, a comparatively rare occurrence in a London auction. CHÂTEAU MOUTON ROTHSCHILD 1982: 12 BOTTLES (ESTIMATE: £6,500–8,500) AND DOUBLE MAGNUM (ESTIMATE: £2,600–3,400). This is a sale that is custom-made for wine lovers and it would pay dividends to spend time looking at this catalogue as there is so much to discover. It is a privilege to offer this collection to our world-wide clients and we would like to thank the family of the man who created this cellar for entrusting us with this sale. We all wish that these wonderful wines will continue their life in other cellars and bring much pleasure to those who drink them.
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