An Introduction by Jamie Ritchie

By Jamie Ritchie

I t is a great honour for all of us at Sotheby’s to work with Prince Robert, and his family and friends, on this exceptional sale, which combines genuinely rare wines that come with incomparable provenance, with the fact that all the wines have been donated to The PolG Foundation, so it can use the funds to help cure people facing mitochondrial-related conditions.


We have collaborated with Prince Robert on many wonderful auctions related to Domaine Clarence Dillon, but this auction is different — it is an intensely personal auction for him and his wife, Julie. In 2016, their youngest son Frederik was diagnosed with a rare mitochondrial disease,a genetic disorder that robs the body’s cells of energy, in turn causing organ dysfunction andfailure. It turned the family’s world upside down, but they decided to concentrate all their efforts on finding a cure, not only for Frederik, but for all those suffering from this not so rare disease.The non-profit foundation they created is becoming an amazing research hub, whose impact will benefit millions of people facing mitochondrial-related conditions, from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, to autism and some forms of cancer.


The wines in this sale have been donated by three distinct groups: Prince Robert; his family; and his friends. Each one includes extremely rare wines, the majority of which come directly from cellars where they have been kept for most or all their lives, which brings the finest provenance and, naturally, the best condition.


Prince Robert de Luxembourg is opening up his personal cellar to offer a selection of rare bottles, with a singular mission in mind: to raise awareness and funds for The PolG Foundation — the result is the most exceptional and unique wine sale to come to the market in many years.

Prince Robert’s personal cellar rests at Château Haut Brion, under perfect, supervised conditions, so it is natural that wines from the family properties are in exceptional condition.

As expected, where appropriate, some of the bottles of the family properties have been reconditioned, with each bottle being tasted before it was topped up and recorked, to ensure the wines are in excellent condition. This process is only undertaken as needed, so some bottles are on original cork. The catalogue description of each lot indicates whether the wine has been recorked.

Prince Robert’s personal cellar includes the opportunity to acquire historic vintages of Château Haut Brion with bottles from 1906, 1918 and 1919, then the decades of the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s (the war years, where the bottles are in pale blue glass), 1950s and onto more recent vintages.

It includes the exceptional 1924 and legendary 1926 in Jeroboams, both of which have been recorked. The sale also includes the most impressive range of very rare magnums of Haut Brion Blanc, La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc and Laville Haut-Brion ever to come to auction.

The result is one of the greatest offerings of rare wines to come to auction.


Prince Robert is Chairman and CEO of Domaine Clarence Dillon, the family wine business, which oversees Châteaux Haut-Brion (his great-grandfather Clarence Dillon, a Texan banker of French descent, purchased the estate in 1935) and La Mission Haut-Brion – wine estates with exalted histories – in addition to Château Quintus in St Emilion, Clarendelle (a line of branded Bordeaux wines founded by Prince Robert), Restaurant Le Clarence in Paris, La Cave du Château (Paris’ most illustrious wine shop, with an additional outlet in Bordeaux), and Clarence Dillon Wines (a Bordeaux négociant business).

The Board of Domaine Clarence Dillon, acting without Prince Robert’s participation, has made exceptional donations to the PolG Foundation, with each item coming direct from each of the château’s cellars. Highlights include:

• Bordeaux Experience for 6 at Domaine Clarence Dillon
• Paris Experience for 4 at Hotel Dillon
• Domaine Clarence Dillon 75th Anniversary Console
• Rare 12-liter bottles of Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion from the exceptional 2009 vintage


Prince Robert’s decision to offer a very significant portion of his personal cellar, in order to support the work of The PolG Foundation, in turn inspired many friends to do the same.


“PFV”, as it is best known, is an international association of twelve of the leading family-owned European wineries, who produce some of the greatest wines in the world. Domaine Clarence Dillon is one of the members and it is natural that the other PFV members have shown such wonderful support through their donations, including:

• A PFV Haute Couture Case offered by all members; and
• Individual donations by: Marchesi Antinori, Domaine Clarence Dillon, Joseph Drouhin,

Famille Perrin, Champagne Pol Roger, Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Sassicaia, Symington Family Estates, Familia Torres, Vega Sicilia.


Generous donations have been made by: Angelus, Champagne Billecart Salmon, Christian Seele & AXA Millésimes, Domaine Marcel Deiss, Edmond Guerrand Hermes, Louis Jadot, Château Montrose, Petrus, Hazel & Marvin Shanken, and Château Smith Haut Lafitte. As is clearly illustrated, this auction combines a selection of very rare wines, that come with impeccable provenance and condition, with the generosity and philanthropy of a dedicated part of the wine community who are helping to fund a cure for PolG and other mitochondrial conditions. Now, it is the time for buyers to show their generosity in bidding, buying and enjoying these wines, all for a cause that will help so many people in the future.

Jamie Ritchie
Senior Vice President,
Worldwide Chairman, Sotheby’s Wine

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