otheby’s latest online Wine auction: Vine I A Gourmet’s Classic Collection, is now open for bidding until 25 August. This stunning single owner collection, featuring all the First Growths with a particular focus on Mouton Rothschild, spans five decades and multiple formats, and includes Domaine de la Romanée Conti from the 1980s and 1990s in bottles, magnums and Jeroboams.
T his wonderful collection is a classic example of vinous desirability, with vertical vintages, fabulous formats and pristine perfection. It will spread much happiness to wine lovers round the world, bringing both joy and enhanced knowledge whenever these bottles, of whatever size, are broached. Fortunately, these collections are not fairy tales - they exist in reality although they are not an everyday occurrence, for the very simple reason that wines of this calibre and position in the hierarchy are often hard to acquire. Demand is such that the word 'allocation' has to be mentioned and, finishing at this time the Bordeaux 2019 En Primeur campaign, one is conscious of this at top level. And, of course, where wine is concerned, there is the obvious depletion due to consumption, the ultimate destiny of any bottle worth buying in the first place.
So, it is a particular pleasure to bring to auction a line-up of Bordeaux that is so strong in First Growths, where the consignor followed every vintage through the decades, in complete cases and in all the formats. One can understand the wines of each property through the lens of vintage conditions, giving the Bordeaux lover every opportunity of studying those years that are mature, or are approaching that state of grace. The super-sized bottles are very impressive, giving extra youth and verve by virtue of a greater volume of wine. The array of Mouton Rothschild stands out from the outset, but the other Firsts jostle for pole position, Palmer and Cos d'Estournel are well to the fore and Petrus beckons from the Right Bank.
Traversing France to Burgundy, the Domaines are The Best, led by DRC in all its glory. An extra 'plus' here are the large formats, so rare at the Domaine and in the region as a whole. The vintages are enticing, as they have the bottle age to tempt one to embark upon them without further ado.
When looking at this collection, and for those of a classical bent, one can only agree with Horace and say Nunc est bibendum. Put more directly, the advice would be Reach for the Corkscrew!
Serena Sutcliffe, M.W.
T he collection was housed in a large purpose-built underground cellar with high quality temperature and humidity control, reflected in the superb condition of the wine. The wines were purchased from two renowned wine merchants, on first release, have never been moved, and the vast majority were kept in stacks in their original wooden cases. Woodworm has attacked a certain part of the cellar. We checked each case very carefully for this twice, once on site and again when we did the full inspection back in London. Affected cases of First Growths and Domaine de la Romanée Conti were sent away for professional heat treatment. Other wines were repacked into plain cartons. In each instance, this is mentioned in the condition notes.
T he Domaine, as it is known, is iconic. Much more important, 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
Discover Six Vineyards from the Domaine Region
Romanée Conti 1990 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (1 MAG)
Richebourg 1994 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (3 JM30)
La Tâche 1982 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (7 BT)
Montrachet 1994 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (4 BT)
Echézeaux 1994 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (3 JM30)
Grands Echézeaux 1994 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (3 MAG)
M outon, as it is affectionately known by all its devotees, is the most opulent and exuberant of all the Firsts, a reflection of the two huge personalities that headed the Château since 1920, Baron Philippe and then Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, who sadly left us a few years ago. The great cassis depths of this wine seduce everyone who appreciates the finest Bordeaux. It is a gloriously forceful, flamboyant wine, voluptuous and powerful. The stunning beauty of the wines has been further strengthened by meticulous attention to detail in vineyard and cellar. Many of my own greatest wine drinking experiences revolve around Mouton throughout this century and the last. Magnificent Mouton is a sensory photo on the mind that stays with one for life.
The First Growths
Château Latour 1996
Château Margaux 1989
Château Mouton Rothschild 1982
Château Lafite 2000
Château Haut Brion 1995