T he consignor of this remarkable treasure trove of wine is someone for whom Sotheby's Wine Team has the greatest respect. We have also had the real pleasure of sharing splendid wines with him and our mutual love of the subject has reinforced a special relationship that we very much value. He is an achiever, of great modesty, and is someone linked to a sense of community that we much admire. He has decided to release an important part of his wine collection in order to fund a new stage of his life and we wish him and his family all happiness and success in their ventures.
A personal connection is particularly gratifying, as this consignor's love of wine was much inspired by a trip to Bordeaux led by my husband, David Peppercorn M.W., proving yet again that wine leads to friendship and great memories.
It is not every day that we see a wine collection of this starry magnitude and it is immediately apparent that someone of real knowledge and experience is behind it. An array of France’s greatest wines is always heart-warming, as they have been lovingly chosen, stored and enjoyed, fortunately leaving a fabulously exciting line-up for others to acquire. It is clear that there are favourites that were followed, châteaux, domains and producers that appear in a series of great vintages – this is the personal touch. Many corks can be pulled straightaway, while other bottles deserve keeping a little longer, if so inclined. Patience has its rewards, while living in the moment has a lot to be said for it.
The most startling element of this collection is the depth and richness of the Burgundies, given that access to these limited quantity wines is a very complicated process. Here, the work has been done for you, as the most gifted Burgundian growers jostle for position in this cellar and the choice is head-turning, in the nicest possible way. From DRC to Dujac, Rousseau to de Vogüé, Cathiard to Mugneret Gibourg, this is a Burgundy lover’s paradise. And this goes for the white wines of the region too where, amongst many others, the Ramonet wines are majestic.
Moving over to the other side of France, both Right and Left Bank Bordeaux top crus are equally mouthwatering. Whole-case quantities abound in all manner of classic properties – you are in very safe hands here and it is always very reassuring to possess, and check on the progress, of these high-profile châteaux.
The Rhône is equally worthy of note and the range of Rayas is a stand-out. And no cellar could claim to be complete without some of Champagne’s greatest players. The connoisseur behind this life-enhancing collection is clearly a serious fan of Salon, marking out his taste from the start, while other Prestige Cuvée Champagnes are a real feature and a genre of the bubble that has show-stopping appeal.
The same sure touch is shown in Germany, where JJ Prüm has a special place in the cellar – and in my glass too.
Wine lovers in general are as diverse in approach as are the wines themselves and this is one of the most delightful aspects of both collecting and consuming. Our tastes are reflected in what we buy and when personal preferences result in gathering together a marvellously varied and stunning collection, all is well with the world. This is one of those very happy instances.