It is a privilege to ‘enter’ once more the mythical Don Stott Cellar, a name that wine lovers round the world revere. There is always a ‘frisson’ of excitement when a generous host pours a bottle from the Stott collection – a rendez-vous with excellence. At the moment, I am particularly devoted to the pursuit of drinking very good wine at home, having had near nervous breakdowns round the world recently when contemplating restaurant mark-ups on wines at the top of the pyramid. This spectacular sale will provide some of the most glorious tastes known to man, offering myriad opportunities for pulling corks with friends and family – only the cook is not available here, but the very best wines demand simple food with great ingredients. So, it is a time to fill the cellar and hunker down as the winter winds blow in.
Don Stott and I share a huge passion for Champagne, a foible also shared, I realise, with many of our discerning clients. This sale is brimming over with the most magnificent Champagnes ever made, mythical houses blending with incomparable vintages. It is a treat to have such a rich collection of legendary Champagnes with bottle age, giving those of us who adore comparisons ample room for manoeuvre. The Krug alone is show-stopping, with a spread of vintages that includes 1982, 1985, 1988, 1989 and 1996, as well as the piercingly pure Chardonnay of the Clos du Mesnil 1985, 1986, 1990 and 1996 and the plush Pinot Noir Clos d’Ambonnay 1995, the first vintage of this gem. Then there is brilliant Bollinger RD, superb with caviar (if you can get it!), stunning Roederer Cristal and noble Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill. It is especially gratifying to have such a range of Billecart Salmon in the auction, a house that consistently delivers marvellous Champagne of both hues. I was happily drinking the glorious pink version last night at the opening of Taillevent 110 in London, which is dangerously close to my abode.
The extraordinary Champagnes are only a prelude to fabulous Rhône wines from Beaucastel, Guigal and Jaboulet and, just in time for the white truffles of winter, landmark Italian reds from Gaja, Giacomo Conterno and Soldera. As if that were not enough, there is Don’s great love, mind-blowing Burgundy from all the stars, led by mouth-watering Roumier and Rousseau. Then there are the precious nuggets – Haut Brion Blanc anyone? Don’s unerring palate homed in, and obtained, the finest examples of what vine and earth, climate and human endeavour, can produce.
We all wish you the best of luck in acquiring what you desire in this festive sale.