Introduction to the Prestigious French Wines from a Great Cellar

By Serena Sutcliffe, M.W.

W e are extremely honoured to be able to bring to the market such an extraordinary collection of vinous classics. In the racing world, this would be a stable of thoroughbreds! Nobility in wine is a reality, not just an abstract idea. The greatest wines come from the greatest terroirs and then the human element enters the equation. It is our good fortune that France has, for centuries been home to vineyard owners and winemakers who are aware of their unrivalled patrimony and have worked ceaselessly to exploit the marvellous potential of their land. The result is living liquid legends that are the products of both art and science. The added plus is that no two wines are ever the same, with weather, oenological philosophies and even changing tastes all playing their part in giving us such a rich diversity of glorious bottles.

Buying in this sale will give you access to the monuments of Bordeaux and Burgundy, those wines to which we all aspire and treasure when we are lucky enough to drink them with friends – for no one experiences such fabulous scents and flavours on their own! Sometimes we talk about these wines more than we see them, for obvious reasons. As they mature and evolve, they are in shorter supply – while others are made in very limited quantities right from the start. Where Bordeaux is concerned, who has not, for example, spent moments wondering if Cheval Blanc 1998 or 2000 is greater (I remember this conversation with Pierre Lurton himself!), or which château achieved the most stunning result in 1982 or, for that matter, in 1990. Frankly, I prefer sipping these beauties to discussing them, but there is an intellectual side to the sensual pleasure of consumption and only drawing a cork will help the decision making. For various reasons, I have recently found Lafite 1990 and Mouton 1986 in front of me at the dining table and they were both sensational, developing in the glass and enveloping us all with their great dimension and depth – we ran out of superlatives.

Burgundy at its pinnacle is, necessarily, even rarer and we cannot extend the vineyard area. The magnificent drama and subtle differences between the Grands Crus owned by the Domaine de la Romanée Conti are a treat to be savoured perhaps only a few times in one’s life, and this is probably as it should be, but the array of vintages in this sale is truly astonishing – there are even the 1978s that made such a lasting impression on me. But, then, they all do. When I taste the new DRC vintage each year, I wish I could live long enough to see them age through the decades – it is certainly a reason for living. And then the wines of Henri Jayer are eternally exciting. My telephone rang the other day and a European friend had just sampled one of his Jayer wines and found the experience totally exhilarating – it made me a little sad that I had not been present. The vintage range of Jayer’s Cros Parantoux here is certainly worth pondering.

This is a dazzling sale, for special moments, valued memories and unforgettable occasions.

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