A Great Northern Collection of Magnificent Wines

By Serena Sutcliffe, MW

W e are delighted to bring to auction a remarkable collection of wine, bottles that can only be described as Textbook Beauties. These are magical wines, nearly all ready to be broached after a suitable time adapting to their new homes. They are also wines that mean a great deal to me personally, both for the memories they have given me and the respect in which I hold the people who made them. The fact that they have been lovingly cared for by a real wine lover is an added plus.

The vineyards that belong to the Domaine de la Romanée Conti are hallowed ground, history embedded in soil and slope - there is probably no more precious territory in France. Some of the greatest liquid to emanate from these rows of vines appear in this collection, with an extraordinary emphasis on luscious La Tâche.

If a wine can 'glow', it is La Tâche. I remember one radio programme, when I was talking about music, an unexpected question came at the end: And what would be your dream wine? Completely spontaneously, as if driven by instantly recalled scent and taste, I said La Tâche 1990. And here it is, along with pretty well every other vintage you have ever wished to experience. And I think that, if I had hesitated for one moment, I might have waxed lyrical about the 1978 and caused confusion amongst some rather jealous listeners! As it happens, the 1978 is here too, in 'quantity' - with DRC, that term is relative.

The superb wines and vineyards of the Drouhin family are also very well represented, including another personal 'weak spot', the sublime Griotte Chambertin, less than 3 hectares producing fine-textured, exotic spiciness at a very high level. And then there is Leroy, Rousseau, Faiveley, de Vogüé and Dujac, Burgundy nobility without a doubt.

There is plenty of the same from Bordeaux, enhanced by large formats - oh, and Pétrus 1982. Hermitage La Chapelle comes in from the Northern Rhône - do not miss the 1961. And it would be difficult to miss the Nebuchadnezzar of Ruinart, sheer grandeur for any party or landmark family event.

This collection also contains one of the most dramatic 'verticals' I have seen of Biondi Santi's Tenuta Greppo Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, with vintages from 1945 to 1999 - you can buy them all and mount the comparative tasting of all time or fill in the gaps in your own collection.

This wonderful array of wine reflects the expertise, enthusiasm and generosity of the consignor, a serious long-time collector from Northern Europe, whose wines will go on to give much joy to those who now acquire them.

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