LONDON - Dark nights, great bottles, gatherings of family and friends – bring it on! And we certainly have here at Sotheby’s, both in barn-storming auctions in New York and London and at Sotheby’s Wine in New York. As auctioneers and merchants, we love December, although by the time the holidays actually begin we look forward to putting our feet up and letting someone else do the decanting!
Lot 531 Musigny 2007, Domain Georges Roumier, one bottle $1,500-2,000; Lot 520 Bonnes Mares 1999, Domain Georges Roumier, ten bottles $8,000-11,000; Lot 515 Chambolle Musigny, Les Amoureuses 2005, Domaine Georges Roumier, three bottles $1,800-2,500
New York kicks off on 7 December with a single-owner sale of glittering allure, featuring a breathtaking array of top domain Burgundy. These are the wines that if, by any chance, one dropped a bottle, one would lap it up off the floor. These great Burgundian producers are magicians, coaxing extraordinary scents and flavours out of their small, sometimes miniature, strips of land. This jaw-dropping collection has another asset under the capsule – the wines are ready to drink. The knowledgeable collector behind this cellar has done the bottle-ageing for you, so reach for the corkscrew. It is the time of year for treats, both for yourself and others.
Lot 792, Chambertin 1990, Rousseau, 2 bottles, £2,000-2,600; Lot 799, Chambertin Clos de Bèze, Rousseau vertical, 4 bottles, £2,000-2,600
In London on 10 and 11 December the choice is exceptional, encompassing fabulous Bordeaux, Burgundy and extraordinary Italian wines from Tuscany, Piedmont and the Veneto. I have just been round London’s Borough Market, ‘sourcing’ (that sounds suitably professional) Croatian truffles and I am having visions of Barbaresco, Brunello and Amarone dancing before me like Sugar Plum Fairies. Sassicaia, Masseto, Ornellaia and Solaia follow in their wake and now I am musing about plates of Parmigiano and walnuts….
London’s Borough Market
I would also quite like some Chevalier Montrachet from Leflaive, a drop or two of Chambertin from Rousseau and a very large glass of Yquem 1988 – well, it does come in Imperial form. On the other hand, I could be placated with some Haut Brion Blanc and Vega Sicilia Unico 1982 – I am really not a difficult guest.
Le Déjeuner d’Huîtres, Jean-François de Troy.
Our own Christmas table looks like a cross between Le Déjeuner d’Huîtres, de Troy’s Bacchanalian spread of oysters and Champagne, and Carl Larsson’s Christmas Eve – we have the same amount of candles around the room (and the annual damage to prove it), but I can never spot the raw herring that is a vital part of our Julaftonen ritual. Nor, for that matter, can I discern the Aquavit that is consumed in considerable quantity. Sorry, we don’t have any of that in our December auctions – we just have some of the most wondrous wines ever made, which is a lot more civilised!
Christmas Eve, Carl Larsson.