A rare and opportune moment for wine connoisseurs, The Encyclopaedic Cellar on 24 and 25 November at Sotheby's Hong Kong kicks off The Epicurean's Atlas – a landmark global series of five dedicated sales offering 25,000 bottles from the revered cellars of visionary epicurean and aesthete Pierre Chen.
Replete with rare bottles and mythical vintages – the cellar has been assembled over some forty years with care, connoisseurship and a keen palate. While subsequent sales will focus on specific regions or types of wine, the first offering from Mr. Chen’s cellars is designed to give a broader sense of the scope and quality of this truly extraordinary encyclopaedic collection. Below are five wines coming to auction to discover.
Château Mouton Rothschild 1959
1959 was an important year for Bordeaux as it provided a much-needed boost for proprietors after the hardships and privations of the post-war years. The vintage was not just bountiful, the wines were also beautiful and Mouton Rothschild was a star performer. “The 1959 Mouton Rothschild can leave you short of superlatives, so have some spare…another awesome addition to Baron Philippe’s canon,” writes critic Neal Martin in his book, The Complete Bordeaux Vintage Guide: One Hundred and Fifty Years from 1870 to 2020.
The label is by the German-born American sculptor Richard Lippold, who began his career by opening an industrial-design studio and is known for his work with metal wires. For this label, Lippold played with the colour of the wine and the wires and positioning of the vines to create an organised, geometric design in his distinctive style.
A lot that combines, in one, two much-coveted icons whose renown in each case has spread well beyond the rarefied world of wine. 1982 is, famously, a garlanded Bordeaux vintage. Petrus is the most hallowed of all Pomerol estates, so desired that its name has come to signify one of the ultimate wine experiences. Because while Petrus is a Pomerol, more than that it is Petrus, an extraordinary expression of the merlot grape. The Petrus vineyards lie almost completely on the fabled ‘buttonhole’ of blue-tinged clay – smectite - on Bordeaux’s Right Bank. The 1982 was made by Jean-Claude Berrouet whose debut Petrus vintage was the 1964 and whose mind and palate continued to shape the wines of Petrus for more than four decades until he retired as technical director after the 2007 vintage.
Dom Pérignon Rosé, P3 1988
This Dom Pérignon Rosé hails from an era before rosé champagne had become as fashionable – and as widely made – as it is today. Yet it was far from being Dom Pérignon’s first rosé release, an honour that belongs to the 1959 Dom Pérignon Rosé which was launched in 1971. Celebrated for its remarkable structure and ability to age, Dom Pérignon is famously released at different stages in its maturation. A P3 wine is one that has enjoyed decades on the lees before being disgorged, showcasing the early potential of the wine to its maximum.
La Tâche 1990 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti
La Tâche is a fêted name and also a monopole – the word is French for monopoly, indicating a vineyard or appellation controlled by a single owner – of the legendary Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, who acquired it in 1933. It consists of 6.06ha (those six ares are important in Burgundy, where every tiny piece of land and, indeed, every vine, counts) of grand cru pinot noir in the village of Vosne-Romanée in the Côte de Nuits. Its wines are known for being expressive, floral and hedonistic and 1990 was a superb Burgundy vintage.
Clos de la Roche 1990 Domaine Dujac
Adored for their finesse and revered for their enchanting perfume, Dujac wines are hugely sought-after by Burgundy drinkers. The domaine is run by the Seysses family, having been bought by Jacques Seysses in the late sixties (the name is a contraction of Domaine du Jacques – the domaine of Jacques). Most of the 1.95ha of Clos de la Roche, a grand cru vineyard situated at the northern end of Morey-St-Denis and stretching up to the border with Gevrey-Chambertin, dates back to this original purchase, though additions have been made since. The Clos de la Roche wines have a firmness in youth that contributes to their notable longevity.
In recognition of the global appeal of this auction series, Sotheby’s will be offering free consolidated sea shipment for all buyers after every sale, between the following locations: Hong Kong; New York; London; Singapore; and Bordeaux and Beaune in France.