The Clifford Harris Collection | A Pioneering British Cellar | Finest & Rarest Wines
Live Auction: 22 July 2022 • 10:00 AM BST • London

The Clifford Harris Collection | A Pioneering British Cellar | Finest & Rarest Wines 22 July 2022 • 10:00 AM BST • London

S otheby’s Wine is delighted to close our Summer season in London with the exceptional sale of The Clifford Harris Collection | A Pioneering British Cellar | Finest & Rarest Wines. This wonderful auction begins with a beautiful Duty Paid collection, from the single cellar of an esteemed collector, the late Clifford Harris. One of the leading lights of London’s wine scene for more than 6 decades, and in many ways greatly ahead of his time in his discerning tastes, the beautiful bottles offered in this collection were stored in a pristine, climate controlled cellar in London throughout their entire life.

A pioneering collector who had excellent direct relationships with a number of top producers, as well as many of the London trade’s leading figures, his cellar encompasses the full roll call of the fine wine world’s greatest names. We find more than 6 decades of incredible mature Bordeaux, as well as an outstanding selection of fine examples of California’s truly original icons from the 1970s, alongside the great names of Burgundy, Spain, Italy and the rest of the world. The vast majority of these were purchased on release, decades ago, and all were safely stored in his state-of-the-art, magnificent home cellar, never having moved until their collection by Sotheby’s for this fantastic sale.

Following The Clifford Harris Collection, we are delighted to present a selection of further consignments that contain a wonderful selection of the brightest and best domaines to be found in the world of wine today. This section of the sale includes incredible cases of mature Rene Engel, Petrus magnums, alongside the First Growths, blue-chip Burgundy and a wonderful run of Italian gems. Sourced from some of the UK and Europe’s most highly-regarded collections, these wines are offered with pristine provenance, and great pride!

The Clifford Harris Collection | A Pioneering British Cellar | Finest & Rarest Wines will open for online bidding on Friday 8th July, culminating in an online-streamed, live auction on Friday 22nd July at 10am BST.


Sale Contents:

Lot 1-413: The Clifford Harris Collection – A Pioneering British Cellar
Lot 414-550: Finest & Rarest Wines, including Engel, Petrus, First Growths & More

Auction Highlights

Timeless Bordeaux: Left Bank Majesty

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. Legends of both the Left and Right Banks have an ability to gain complexity and character as they age that 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.

Some of the most storied Bordeaux of the last century are represented in this incredible sale, in particular in the guise of 1959 and 1961 Lafite, 1982 Mouton and Latour, as well as the legend that is 1990 Haut-Brion. 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 many of the legends offered here.

Timeless Bordeaux: Right Bank Opulence

The Merlot and Cabernet Franc dominated wines of the Right Bank are famous for their plushness and lavish, rich fruit, and never is that more evident than in the brilliant 4 estates that are offered here. Petrus, Le Pin, Cheval Blanc and Lafleur represent four of the most storied names in wine, and many drinkers’ greatest and most memorable encounters with Bordeaux are rooted in these opulent, extraordinary wines. Whilst their famed opulence can make them more accessible early in life than their Left Bank counterparts, the finest examples, such as those presented here, have the capacity to undergo a magical transformation as they age.

That alchemy, which we see when these legends are left to sleep, undisturbed, for decades, is on show in all its glory throughout this quite sensational auction. It is a true delight to be able to present this treasure trove of historic bottles; with so many icons on offer, there is no doubt that the wines offered here are set to capture the attention and excitement of the foremost collectors of Bordeaux in every corner of the globe.

Burgundian Icons

A perfect storm of factors in recent years, the trifecta of extraordinary quality, limited supply and a broadening collector base, has resulted in almost insatiable worldwide demand for pristine, aged examples of the glorious elixirs that hail from the vines of the Côte d’Or’s most hallowed sites. Whilst the lion’s share of the auction market remains captured by Burgundy’s most historically lauded producers, it is especially interesting (and encouraging) to note the more recent recognition and appreciation, in the secondary market, of top quality wines from the next generation of producers, at every level of the classification, up and down the Côte.

Winemaking occupies a space right on the liminal boundary between Art and Science, and never is that more clear than in the wines of Burgundy’s leading addresses, existing as they do on the faultline between marvels of modern winemaking technology and science, and romantic, mystical expressions of their individual climates in a manner that has never been fully captured or understood by empirical rhyme and reason. 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 creator's philosophies. Part of the romantic allure of Burgundy is its capricious nature, and winemakers all the way down the Côte d’Or are at the mercy of the region’s marginal climatic 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.

Champagne Superstars

Perfectly stored mature Champagne is one of the wine world’s great hedonistic experiences; all too often these wines are popped and consumed early in their life, but give them the chance to age, as the examples on offer here have been, and they assume otherworldly levels of complexity and character. With the range of vintages, formats and houses on offer across these collections, whether your taste is for Dom Pérignon or Krug, Delamotte or Pol Roger, Cristal or Taittinger, there are myriad bottles of interest here, including the legendary Krug 1985, Dom Pérignon 1990 and Cristal 1990.

Regal Port & Gems Beyond France

The vast majority of Sotheby's Wine auctions focus on Europe’s most established wine regions, where our expertise and experience has helped us find some of the most exciting collections ever seen for sale. But our passion extends far beyond the stalwarts of the fine wine market, and it is exciting to see wines and growers from other regions infiltrating the pack. Beyond this wonderful array of the very best, classic Ports, in this section we also find plentiful gems from other regions, including extremely rare aged examples of Californian icons Mayacamas, Stag’s Leap, Heitz, and Georges de Latour Beaulieu Vineyard, as well as the expected Super Tuscans, a handful of beautiful Brunellos and extraordinary aged German Riesling.

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