As part of the Finest and Rarest Wines auction on Saturday, 10 September, Sotheby’s is honoured to offer the cellar of wine connoisseur John Brincko, with over 85 lots of DRC, 40 lots of Coche-Dury and 20 lots of Raveneau. Based in Los Angeles, Brincko is president of the international management-consulting firm Brincko Group. He has been tasting and collecting wine for over 40 years. “The spectacular collection of wine in this sale is a reflection of all that John Brincko knows and loves,” says Serena Sutcliffe, M.W. and Honorary Chairman of Sotheby’s Wine. “It would be difficult to pick out gems, as they are all high carat. The years are starry, the producers are eye-catching.” Here, Brincko discusses his start in wine collecting, hunting for Burgundy and what to expect from the auction.
When did you first become interested in wine?
I started drinking wine while in college in the early 1960s. I started with wines like Gallo Hearty Burgundy, Mateus and Lancers, and then graduated to better California wines like Parducci and Charles Krug.
Did you have any mentors as a young wine enthusiast?
Two people provided my impetus to start tasting French wines. One was my French language professor and the other was a CFO of a major ad agency where I worked during college. The CFO took me to dinner at the Drake Hotel in Manhattan, and he ordered a Grand Echézeaux and I remarked what a poor brand name that was, considering that I was at an ad agency and very brand oriented. Much to my embarrassment, he quickly pointed out that it was not a brand, but a Grand Cru vineyard. My lack of knowledge caused me to start reading every wine book I could find and propelled me on the start of my wine adventure.
(LEFT TO RIGHT) 1 BT JF COCHE-DURY, CORTON CHARLEMAGNE 1990, LOT 863. ESTIMATE $2,800–3,500; 1 BT JF COCHE-DURY, CORTON CHARLEMAGNE 1992, LOT 864. ESTIMATE $2,200–3,200; 1 BT JF COCHE-DURY, CORTON CHARLEMAGNE 2004, LOT 865. ESTIMATE $1,200–1,600; 1 BT JF COCHE-DURY, CORTON CHARLEMAGNE 2007, LOT 866. ESTIMATE $1,300–1,800; 1 BT JF COCHE-DURY, CORTON CHARLEMAGNE 2008, LOT 867. ESTIMATE $1,300–1,800.
How did you start collecting seriously?
In the 1970s, I held several international senior executive positions and travelled extensively to France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and England which gave me further opportunities to taste wines and visit great estates and vineyards and develop relationships with owners of Chateaux and Domaines, as well as with wine retailers.
Could you talk a bit about your passion for Burgundy?
I became very intensely involved with Burgundian wines in the mid-1970s and soon realized that they were my favourites. By the late 1970s, I began travelling to both Burgundy and Bordeaux annually to taste and purchase wines for my cellars, but since the early 1980s, I have journeyed most frequently to Burgundy, because of my love affair with these wines. The fabulous white and red Burgundies in the Sotheby’s sale are some of my favourite producers and are representative of what makes this region so great. What can bidders expect to see in the Sotheby’s auction? Most of the wines featured in this sale were purchased in Europe and directly imported by myself. This sale represents approximately 35 to 40 per cent of my cellar. I decided to sell because my family is moving to a home at the beach, which will not have as large a cellar as our current principal residence. I truly hope that these wines bring you all the sensory pleasures and many great memories as they have for me, my family and friends.
12BT DRC ASSORTMENT 1999, LOT 671. ESTIMATE $32,000–45,000.