S otheby’s Wine is delighted to present the final auction of our Spring season in London, the third in our trio of exceptional Single Owner sales: Icons Only | The Best of Burgundy & Bordeaux | A Single Owner Collection. This incredible sale consists of just 144 lots, a selection of only the most coveted names from Burgundy and Bordeaux, from a single private cellar that ranks amongst the globe’s greatest collections.
Only the very best are represented here, and the depth of great Burgundy is especially phenomenal, with an incredible selection of bottles and magnums offered from the likes of Rousseau, Leroy, DRC, Arnoux-Lachaux, de Vogue, Cathiard, Liger-Belair, and many more. Beyond Burgundy, we find an outstanding array of superb, perfectly stored bottles and rare large-formats from every one of the First Growths in all of the most legendary vintages between 1982 and 2005. This is evidently the cellar of a wine lover with true passion and extremely discerning tastes, and is a collection that is sure to have global appeal.
Icons Only | The Best of Burgundy & Bordeaux | A Single Owner Collection will open for online bidding on Wednesday 30 March, culminating in an online-streamed, live auction on Wednesday 13 April at 1:00PM BST.
This auction celebrates the joy of sharing, and the prestigious collection of an extraordinarily discerning wine-lover who has assembled this world-leading cellar over the preceding decades. Looking through the lots on offer, this collector’s devotion to buying, and sharing, only the ultimate when it comes to quality and rarity, is self-evident. The extraordinary wines released here represent many years of dedicated and diligent work.
Provenance and Inspection
All of the wines offered here were originally purchased from a very select group of only the UK and Europe’s most prestigious, reputable and highly-respected merchants, all of whom have outstanding direct relationships in Burgundy and beyond. Since purchase, they have been stored undisturbed within a professional, temperature and humidity controlled bonded warehouse in the UK, where they were inspected by Sotheby’s expert team in March 2022.
"This wonderful selection of wines comes from a much larger collection, that has been assembled with a focus on quality and provenance, by a truly knowledgeable, passionate and curious wine lover. He is an incredibly generous host and we have enjoyed many dinners together, in many different locations. He has no hesitation in serving and enjoying the best bottles in the cellar, always comparing different wines and vintages, though never in a pretentious way - the wines are there to be enjoyed and the guests are as fun and as important as the wines. He recently realized that, even if he drastically ratcheted up his consumption, he would never be able to enjoy all the bottles that he has acquired, so he decided that it is time to let others enjoy them."
“We are hugely grateful to our consignor, whose philosophy that the best wines were made to be shared is embodied by their decision to bring to market such an iconic selection of highlights from their enviable cellar. We are delighted to play a role in spreading this philosophy, sharing these truly iconic wines with our global base of collectors. Looking through the selection from our consignor’s immense cellar, one thing is absolutely clear; their unflinching dedication to utmost quality, and enormous appreciation of the world’s very best wines. It is a great privilege to offer such a comprehensive collection of the wine world’s most illustrious and elusive names all in one place, and a fitting way to close what has been one of our busiest ever Spring seasons in London.”
Winemaking occupies a space right on the liminal boundary between Art and Science, and never is that more clear than in the Pinot Noirs of Burgundy’s leading addresses. If art is the expression of the human soul in terms of a tangible, worldly product, then the wines highlighted here are at once works of art and perfect snapshots of their creators’ philosophies. Part of the romantic allure of Pinot Noir is its capricious nature, and Burgundy’s winemakers all the way down the Côte d’Or are at the mercy of this grape variety’s temperament, the elements and, of course, their terroir. Harnessing the potential of Burgundy’s myriad climatic variables is no small feat, and those who are able to achieve this year in, year out, are rightly revered as Burgundian royalty. When great Burgundy is on song, there is nothing quite like it for its exquisite purity and paradoxical power. These are truly the world’s most harmonious wines.
There are very few producers whose wines inspire as much excitement in Burgundy devotees as those offered here, particularly the likes of Rousseau, Leroy, Liger-Belair, Cathiard and de Vogüé. One of the most complete Burgundy collections we have seen in London for a long time, the amazing lots herein are especially notable for being restricted to only the best vintages of the best cuvées from these already iconic producers, and the array of amazingly rare large formats. It is very difficult to pick out highlights, but if doing so then it is difficult to look past the amazing vertical of complete cases of de Vogüé’s Musigny Vieilles Vignes, with all of the greatest vintages between 1999 and 2010 represented, alongside more than 8 full cases of the iconic Grand Cru Monopole La Romanée.
Beyond the names above we find incredible cases from the likes of Arnoux-Lachaux, Rouget’s Cros Parantoux, all of the Gros family, Mugnier’s wonderful Amoureuses and an outstanding selection of Ponsot’s brilliant Clos de la Roche.
These wines are amongst the most perfect and singular expressions of Pinot Noir that exist, produced in such minimal quantities that the opportunity to experience them remains an elusive dream for the vast majority of collectors worldwide. It is therefore a pleasure to be able to offer this beautifully assembled collection, the wines of which will form leading additions to any great wine cellar.
The Domaine, as it is known, is iconic. Much more importantly, it also produces the most extraordinary wines in Burgundy - and it has been doing so for a long time. The generations responsible for the Domaine change, but the terroir remains. And these are very special vineyard parcels indeed, married to meticulous care and philosophy leading to low yields and healthy, ripe grapes, at whatever cost. From the 1990s, vineyard policy has been organic, with co-owner Aubert de Villaine monitoring everything with his usual attention to detail. Domaine de la Romanée-Conti wines evolve and develop dimensions in a way that resembles a mosaic – points of bouquet and flavor making up a harmonious whole that becomes more beautiful as it unfolds in the glass. Yes, these are hedonistic wines and yes, they are not like any other. The trick is in capturing what these remarkable plots of vines can give and letting them express themselves through minimum intervention and enlightened nurturing.
SERENA SUTCLIFFE, MW
Looking at the performance of this category over the past two years, there is absolutely no doubt that white Burgundy is experiencing a moment in the sun right now. It seems that there is an almost insatiable worldwide demand for pristine, aged examples of the glorious and mercurial elixirs that hail from the Chardonnay vines of the Cote d’Or’s most hallowed sites. And no site comes with a more fearsome and hallowed reputation than the vineyard of Le Montrachet itself.
The great whites of Le Montrachet have been legends for eons, and as difficult as they are to procure with such a combination of wonderful provenance and bottle age, it is even more rare to find magnums, let alone larger formats! With outstanding Montrachet from Boillot and Bouchard offered here in formats from bottles, to magnums, to double-magnums and even an extraordinarily rare Imperial, these bottles are sure to generate intense interest from around the world.
There is good reason for the enduring presence of Bordeaux’s great names within cellars of the foremost collectors worldwide. The consistency with which the Bordelais, over centuries, have been able to produce wines that continue to find themselves at the pinnacle of global wine appreciation is truly astonishing. Icons of both the Left and Right Banks have an ability to gain complexity and character as they age, which is almost unrivalled in the rest of the fine wine world. The region’s wines have occupied a space at the top table for centuries, and the enjoyment of these wines has been a constant for countless significant characters, alongside myriad major events, throughout at least 500 years of recent history.
The full roll-call of the most legendary Bordeaux of the last four decades is represented in this incredible collection, of only the very best names, in formats from bottles right up to Imperials, from 1982, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1996, 2000 and 2005. It is a privilege to be able to present such a treasure trove of pristine, ready-to-drink superstars here. The range of truly iconic wines on offer will suit the gourmand who wishes to drink the world’s greatest wines right away, just as much as the collector looking to amass a cellar for the future, such is the outstanding aging potential of these legends.