This is a collection that celebrates the beauty of perfectly sourced and stored wine, an enabling exercise that leads, very happily, to purity of expression. Every time one tastes a wine that ‘sings’, one knows that a contributory factor will be the life history of the bottle. This is always important, and a way of honouring those who labour to make wine, not an easy enterprise in the first place. It is, however, imperative when the wines involved are some of the best in the world. At this level, it is almost a moral duty to buy with care and ensure that cellar conditions are optimum. As this collection contains such glorious examples of Burgundy and Bordeaux, it is hugely reassuring to emphasise that these fabulous bottles, magnums and Jeroboams fulfil all the necessary criteria.
Leading the field, for we are talking vinous thoroughbreds here, the Domaine de la Romanée Conti lives up to all our hopes and expectations. Is there a dichotomy within DRC, in the sense of choosing to drink it in relative gorgeous youth, or waiting for it to grow into maturity and complexity? I think the wines have the dimensions and facets to be totally arresting at any age. In fact, every year when I taste the range at just over 2 years old, I have to use all my will-power not to swallow! The honest assessment is that with every passing year the wines display new charms and nuances, so the line-up of vintages in this sale provides every opportunity to pull corks from the outset, or to be more patient and watch and wait. The quantities here are such that it is possible to do both.
The list of full cases from Domaine Leroy is truly impressive and will delight devotees. All credit must go to owner Lalou Bize-Leroy, one of the great pioneers of biodynamics in the Burgundian vineyards. Her attention to detail and constant, enquiring mind result in wines that are meticulously ‘crafted’ and certainly concentrated. And these are vintages that can be broached without further ado, without an iota of guilt – although I feel strongly that opening any bottle of wine with family and friends is a very innocent pursuit, whatever the year on the label.
Staying in Burgundy, as many would opt to do, domains such as Jayer, de Vogüé, Rousseau, Grivot, Rouget, Clos de Tart and Mortet can be added to the mix, so this is a rich hunting ground.
Similar discernment has been shown in Bordeaux, where First Growths and their Right Bank equivalents dominate. Then there is a splash of Rhône and an exciting Krug……
Without a doubt, this sale is alluring and that is a quality to be treasured in a wine.