For me, "summits" mean mountains, bringing to mind Everest and heroic news of its first ascent, which I followed when I was a child. K2 appeared even more terrifying, albeit from a safe distance. However, apart from Sir Winston Churchill coining the phrase "summit meeting" where politicians try to sort out our problems without (I understand) the benefit of great wine, the meaning of "summit" is the highest point of attainment or aspiration. For wine lovers, the sale of The Summit Wine Collection in Hong Kong on July hits the spot. Put simply, this is an incredible array of extraordinary wines, possessing the added benefit of being ready to drink.
This is a landmark auction that flies the French Tricolore flag with pride. It literally fizzes with excitement, for the Champagne is pitch perfect, perhaps the greatest (controlled) explosion of bubbly I have ever seen. Top Champagne with bottle age is one of the wonders of the wine world, a concoction of complexity and even mystery. The gloriously ‘winey’ Bollinger R.D., the sheer originality of Philipponnat’s Clos des Goisses, the seductive Chardonnay charms of Taittinger’s Comtes de Champagne and Salon’s Le Mesnil, plus rare Rosé cuvées – they are all here in abundance. I feel like twirling a glass at this very moment.
The Burgundy is sumptuous, with Grands Crus from the most fabled producers jostling for position. Allocations of the finest Burgundies are usually hard to come by and tiny in quantity, so it is an eye-opener to see the sheer depth of the wines from the revered Domaine Dujac. It would be in order to lust after a vinous stand-off between Dujac’s Clos de la Roche and Clos St.Denis, in a plethora of vintages. The same manoeuvre could be undertaken with the glittering Grands Crus of the Domaine de la Romanée Conti, plus a veritable dictionary of Burgundy’s best growers in a profusion that resembles a promenade through the finest vineyards of the Côte de Nuits.
Then come the Rhône and Bordeaux – words do not often fail me, but I have run out of adjectives. There is vicarious joy in being able to bring this collection to a wide and wine-loving audience, maybe not the hedonistic pleasure of drinking them all in reality, but nevertheless there is the satisfaction of knowing that these incomparable wines will create new connoisseurs and enchant experienced experts.