A Great Bordeaux Cellar

By Serena Sutcliffe, M.W.

T his is one of those rare windows into wine history that mark a lifetime of vinous discovery. When they come your way, it is always breathtaking, as they evoke times remembered, vintages that vary with the weather and social conditions, extraordinary memories of scent and taste, occasions of joy and wonder and the sheer delight of knowing that these bottles, magnums, double magnums, jeroboams and imperials still exist. It reminds me of childhood fairy tales, of treasures slumbering for decades and then miraculously revealed. In this case, the sleeping took place in perfect cellar conditions and these legendary wines emerge from over a century ago, in one instance, to shine a light on what fascinates us all – the mystery of how wines evolve. This collection provides an unrivalled opportunity to follow this thread, through the lens of the First Growths of Bordeaux.

Leading this incredible line-up is the peerless Pessac-Léognan First, Château Haut Brion. Across a landscape of war and peace and, since 1935, the devoted Dillon family ownership, Haut Brion has provided wine lovers with a kaleidoscope of fabulous wines, seductive, complex, profound and exhilarating. Those who nurtured vineyard and cellar, enhancing this great terroir to great heights, deserve the thanks of every connoisseur who is passionate about the Haut Brion signatures of velvet warmth, cigary spiciness and a come-hither quality that is hard to resist – in fact, why try? And where to begin, from the glorious 1926, the deeply satisfying 1945 (I remember we drank out a Dordogne restaurant’s cellar of this gem), the 1947, 1949, the 1955 (so good in this area and try it in imperial), the 1959, one of the best of this sumptuous year, the gorgeous 1961, delicious 1962, the 1964 where the property judged the picking time perfectly, the 1966 and onwards to 1982 and you might also be drawn to the allure of a double magnum of the 1989. In my dreams, I would settle for a jeroboam of the outstanding 1953.

The serried ranks of Haut Brion Blanc are a unique aspect of this sale, produced as it is in such small quantity. Match it with the totally different style of the Laville Haut Brion, but remember to provide lashings of sushi and sashimi to go with the experience as this is a remarkable gastronomic marriage. Then, the La Mission Haut Brion line-up beckons, encompassing as it does vintages such as 1964 (very successful here) and the stunning 1982, followed by a very good 1983, harvested by the previous owners but with the ‘élevage' under the meticulous management of the new proprietors, the Dillon family.

Lafite’s vintages are as brilliant, with Latour and Margaux following in the Médoc. Traversing to the Right Bank, there is Petrus and Cheval Blanc, finishing with Yquem in what one can only call ‘divine’ vintages.

This is a collection that is tantalising in its temptations, with a glimpse into the past that is truly rare. We are honoured to bring it to Hong Kong and its far-reaching Asian audience.

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