Wine & Spirits

A Collector’s Vision

By Serena Sutcliffe, M.W.

M any would agree that most collectors have a vision, axiomatic in any form of art and very often an attribute shared with wine lovers who 'collect'. They may buy, keep and drink wine for pure pleasure, especially for the joy of sharing bottles with like-minded friends. They may also combine the hedonistic with a certain intellectual curiosity and desire for further knowledge of the subject. Ultimately, acquisition allied to the consumption of the end product creates an ideal scenario - we sometimes cannot even keep up with what lies in store for us in the cellar.

When this happens, the beneficiaries are our international clients! The consignor of this impeccable collection is a long-standing wine lover and collector, whose selection of stunning classic wines was both inspired and the result of great experience. The sole lodestar he followed when buying was quality, with excitement added in. And France was the destination, with a love of both Bordeaux and Burgundy much in evidence - few would argue that this is not the perfect combination.

The Clarets, with First Growths to the fore, fall predominantly into the decades of the 1980s and 1990s, with some forays into that wonderful landmark vintage of 2000. I have rarely seen such a top-notch choice of 1995s, with their fruit and generosity, plus exceptional 1998s, a vintage that is not just the preserve of the Right Bank (although do not miss Cheval Blanc....) and which is coming into its own from now, in glorious fashion if the Mouton is anything to go by. I would also have my eye on Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion 1998, as this was a spectacular vintage in Pessac-Léognan. And there is the ultimate in vinous comparison, Petrus 1989 and 1990, where I still need time and opportunity to hone my tasting skills, while waiting for my 'ship to come in', to be entirely honest.

The same sure touch was shown by this collector when he crossed France to Burgundy, heading straight for the Domaine de la Romanée Conti - look out for the exemplary 1985s.

'Pour terminer', before we leave France, there is incomparable Yquem and connoisseurs' Champagne, headed by the mythical Louis Roederer Cristal 2000 in Imperial - I had one, long-since gone, but never forgotten.

All the wines in this collection were purchased through established wine merchants, the majority being packed in carton by a Sotheby's specialist. These wines have been stored in impeccable condition in a deep underground cellar dedicated for entertainment with constant automatic control of the temperature, humidity and lighting.

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