S otheby’s Wine London are delighted to present our latest online sale, Vine | Featuring A Great Classic Cellar & A Brilliant Bordeaux Collection.
If you would like to sort or filter the sale, please follow this link to download the sale index in Excel spreadsheet format.
The sale begins with an impeccable collection from the deep underground cellar of a long-standing wine lover, focused predominantly on Bordeaux from the 1980s. Bordeaux continues to feature with a mouthwatering collection of First Growths and Super Seconds spanning three decades, and a further selection of all the First Growths from the fabulous 2000 vintage. More mature classics can be found from a private Swiss cellar featuring rarely seen Domaine de la Romanée Conti 1969 plus another continental collection with further DRC, Petrus, Musigny from Mugnier and Chave's Ermitage Cuvée Cathelin, produced in miniscule quantities. Coche-Dury verticals, Roulot and globetrotting mixed cases add to a diverse and colourful sale to finish the year for Sotheby's Wine, London.
We are delighted to bring to auction an impressive collection of Bordeaux, with a dash of DRC, that will bring light into lives and those of family and friends who might share these great bottles with you. The wine lovers who owned this collection were renowned hosts who loved entertaining and the depth of this sale only illustrates the extent of the cellar and the passions that drove this family’s wine buying over decades. They had great loves for both certain châteaux and vintages and followed their tastes and preferences with admirable consistency. The result is breathtaking ‘runs’ of some First Growths, just to whet your appetite, or stimulate your thirst, for truly grand Bordeaux.
Two stand-out features became immediately apparent to us. These connoisseurs were dedicated to Mouton Rothschild, Petrus, La Fleur Pétrus and Lafite, while also having great affection for Léoville Barton, Clerc Milon and Lynch Bages. And, although the span of vintages is wide indeed, from 1923 to 1989, via 1961 and 1982 and with many stops along the way, the 1985 vintage was clearly a major favourite. Their taste was impeccable, as it is a delectable year for Bordeaux, producing wines with a cornucopia of red fruit and luscious glycerol, plus velvety texture and huge charm. They are now also silkily mature and ‘ready to drink’, one of the most inviting phrases in the English language! Who can resist, for example, Mouton 1985, a leader of the pack and temptation in the glass, bringing memories of the 1953 with which it shares some very attractive characteristics. And then there is Petrus, in all its explosive glory. The Merlot did stunningly well in 1985 and the proof is in broaching this truffley, rosy yet irony wine, super exciting in every way. A feast of comparison lies before you in this come-hither vintage. Léoville Barton 1982 and Lynch Bages 1989 are other lodestars in that magical combination of quality and quantity, in the category of Claret that always produces sighs of happiness round the dining table.
As if that were not enough, the spectacular Yquem 1983 is here in abundance, a wine that pulls you up with its beauty and sheer impact, genuine class in the glass and a miracle of botrytis and exoticism.
We hope that acquiring some of these remarkable wines will enable you to evoke the hospitality and pleasure of entertaining for which these wines were originally bought.
- Serena Sutcliffe M.W
This mouthwatering collection of wine has special importance for me as I have had the good fortune, and immense pleasure, to share many bottles with the consignor, a most generous and hospitable person. When someone pulls out his greatest bottles for his friends, letting them muse and drink to their heart’s content, every guest feels both lucky and privileged. This very tempting group of wines shows that we did leave some remarkable liquids in safe storage and I know that they will all taste to the peak of their intrinsic quality.
Looking at the collection, it is immediately evident that delightful dinners given by this great host usually begin with top-of-the-line white Burgundy and then proceed to classic Bordeaux from both Right and Left Banks. I should add that those dinners involve Champagne at the start, but it appears that we disposed of those bottles with no thought for the future….. So, here, we have classified growth Claret, with First Growths and Super Seconds to the fore, and glittering Pomerol and St.Emilion to suit all tastes. And the vintages allow one to make inroads into the cases from now, although there is still plenty of opportunity for further ageing if so inclined. Every palate, and every occasion, is different and this collection offers range and depth in equal proportion. Each wine was picked for its particular attributes and there is huge scope for comparing ripeness, structure and aromatic intensity amongst such a noble, yet diverse, round-up of crus.
The white Burgundy is Grand Cru, and worthy of it, while there are two of my personal favourite white Bordeaux, Domaine de Chevalier with the fish and Climens with the pudding! And the two excursions out of France are to Spain and California and these are also wines I would wish to squirrel away – or to drink, a far better proposition.
Let loose amongst these gems, it would be a tremendous opportunity to serve, for example, two warm, ripe vintages together, maybe 1989 and 2003. Or jump in at the deep end and embark upon an assessment of the stupendous 2000s – the possibilities are endless and the joy of the task immeasurable.
We are happy and honoured to be able to bring this collection to our international wine-loving clients.
- Serena Sutcliffe M.W
RARE BURGUNDY AND BORDEAUX RECENTLY REMOVED FROM A PRIVATE CELLAR IN SWITZERLAND. REMNANTS OF A SUCCESSFUL HOTEL. THE COLLECTION INCLUDES AN EXCEPTIONAL OFFERING OF DOMAINE DE LA ROMANEE CONTI 1969.
The Hotel Byron
The first of the grand hotels on Lake Geneva to exploit Lord Byron’s visit to Switzerland opened its doors in 1839. The Hotel Byron was built in Villeneuve, a mile down the road from the Château de Chillon. It commanded a view west along the lake and south to the Dents du Midi. At the time, it was the largest hotel on the Swiss Riviera. Its guest list was an artistic Who’s Who of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner, Victor Hugo.
In 1929, the Byron establishment, always financially precarious, fell on hard times. The main building became a famous boarding school described as the “Eton of Switzerland”. Unfortunately, it burnt down in 1933.
The second and smaller building carried on as an hotel and it is in the 1960s that the family of the current owner took over.
Following the tradition, the "new" Byron hotel entertained many stars of the 60s & 70s from Charlie Chaplin, Sofia Lauren, Jeanne Moreau to the Rolling Stones who would marvel at the food and the wine list. The visitors' book is a tribute to the hotel and those who stayed there
All the wine offered in this collection are remnants of the main cellar which were moved to the current cellar when the business ceased in the 1970s.
All the wines were kept in a dry, deep cellar by Lake Geneva with a constant low and natural temperature.
This is a jewel in the crown of the Chave family’s renowned Hermitage. In 1990, Gérard Chave created this remarkable cuvée, named after his friend the French artist Bernard Cathelin who designed the spectacular label. The wine is usually made only four times in a decade, with a production of around 200 cases for each vintage. The Syrah grape is combined with old vines mostly from the steep, granite slopes of Les Bessards on the Hermitage hill and the wine is matured in new French oak barrels. The result is concentration of bouquet and palate, with massive length of flavour. For those who desire a 'hit of Hermitage’, this is the wine for you – and for your deeply grateful guests!
- Serena Sutcliffe M.W
Jean-François Coche is a magician who coaxes extraordinary aromas and flavours from his land, whether it be Grand Cru or village wine. He never makes anything less than riveting wine, whatever the weather conditions. To own a Coche-Dury wine is an achievement, given the quality and the scarcity.
- Serena Sutcliffe M.W