Peerless Bordeaux: Highlights from the Cellar of the Late Martin Kaplan

By Simon Herriot

NEW YORK – Sotheby's is delighted to present a selection of the finest wines from the cellar of the late Martin Kaplan (Lots 464–510). Mr Kaplan's passion for wine was honed through extensive travel in France, while his distinguished career on Wall Street enabled him to become a devoted collector of Bordeaux specifically; he embraced both the power and charm of the region's Left Bank, and the opulence of its Right. The foundations of the collection are built on the quality and quantity of the chateaux and vintages on offer. Rarely do we see all the First Growths, as well as the top names from Pomerol and Saint-Émilion, in such volume and from the greatest vintages in recent memory.

LOT 465 . CHATEAU LAFITE 1982. ESTIMATE $22,000–30,000. CHATEAU LATOUR 1982. ESTIMATE $14,000–19,000. LOT 472 . CHATEAU LATOUR 1982. ESTIMATE $14,000–19,000. LOT 482 . CHATEAU MOUTON ROTHSCHILD 1982. ESTIMATE $10,000–13,000. LOT 503 . CHATEAU CHEVAL BLANC 1982. ESTIMATE $7,000–10,000.  

The collection begins with the First Growths, the highlights being: 52 bottles of Lafite, 36 bottles of Latour and 38 bottles of Mouton, all from the fabled 1982 vintage. 1982 is often described as "the vintage of the century" in Bordeaux where winemakers were assisted by favourable climatic conditions which, until recently, resulted in the most complex and profound wines produced since the classic 1961s. Characterised by luscious fruit flavours and tannic power, the 82s are now fully open and in their prime. Upon release Lafite was regarded by many as their greatest wine since the legendary 1959, Latour comparable to the astounding 1961, and Mouton showed its First Growth credentials by producing one of the wines of the vintage. The evolution of these wines has been profound and lucky buyers will be able to experience their further development over the coming years.

LOT 487 . CHATEAU HAUT BRION 1989. ESTIMATE $12,000–18,000. LOT 481 . CHATEAU MARGAUX 1990. ESTIMATE $2,400–3,500.

Château Haut-Brion and Margaux, the most treasured properties in their respective appellations, are also not to be overlooked from this collection, especially in their acclaimed "perfect scoring" years of 1989 and 1990. Serena Sutcliffe, MW characterises the 1989 Bordeaux vintage as "rich, luscious and dense," and recently described Haut-Brion as "concentrated with impressive volume." The 1990 vintage, on the other hand, is coveted for its seductive fruit that gives the wines a hedonistic quality, with Château Margaux being described by Sutcliffe as "an utterly tempting wine, full of black fruit, with perfect balance and irreproachable class." Having recently tasted both, it is not a case of which is superior, but more of a personal, stylistic preference, which only the drinker can decide!

LOT 491 . CHATEAU PETRUS 1982. ESTIMATE $16,000–22,000. LOT 492 . CHATEAU PETRUS 1989. ESTIMATE $9,500–13,000. LOT 494 . CHATEAU PETRUS 1990. ESTIMATE $16,000–22,000.

1982, ’89 and ’90 are a trio of exceptional vintages for the Merlot-based wines of Pomerol, with the unique and peerless Petrus producing some of its finest ever wines during these years. Sutcliffe describes the 1982 as having a "superb, full, rich, ultra-dimensional taste," the 1989 as possessing "all the exoticism of the cru, with richness and depth," and finally the 1990 as being "incredibly opulent, plummy...and voluptuous." Oenophiles should not pass on this opportunity to compare and contrast these exceptional, nuanced wines from one of the wine world's most illustrious estates.

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