S otheby’s Wine is delighted to present Vine The Primum Familiae Vini & A Classic Collection of European and New World Icons. This impressive sale begins with a very special single lot from Europe’s Primum Familiae Vini, their 2020 Limited Edition Case & Passport, before moving through the cellars of a handful of esteemed collectors. Incorporating many of the world’s finest and rarest wine estates, we are delighted that this sale brings to market perfectly stored wines from the likes of: Domaines Rousseau, Romanée-Conti, d’Auvenay and Leroy; a superb selection of mature Champagne from Dom Perignon, Taittinger, Krug, Roederer and Salon, amongst others; not to mention a very strong representation of Bordeaux’s top addresses from both the left and right banks of the Gironde. There are further outstanding highlights from across Italy and the New World, including Soldera, Screaming Eagle and China’s Ao Yun, to name just a few.
Collectors yearning for the chance to travel and indulge their passion for the world’s greatest wine estates have an extraordinary opportunity with Lot 1 in this sale. For those in the know, the acronym PFV carries a cachet that needs no introduction. Established in 1992, this international association of some of the world’s finest wine producing families from France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain – the Primum Familiae Vini – represents the wine world’s leading names that remain to this day in family ownership. Every year, the families of the PFV hand select one of their finest vintages to produce only 12 individually numbered, limited edition cases; on offer as our first lot is Case Number 1 of 12 from this year’s release. With every bottle destined to become a legend from their respective regions, the twelve cases represent the first and only time that these great vintages will be available together. Furthermore, distinguishing our Collection Case Number 1 from the other 2020 Limited Edition Cases released is the addition of a rare Primum Familiae Vini Passport.
Baron Philippe de Rothschild
Egon Müller Scharzhof
Champagne Pol Roger
Symington Family Estates
Tenuta San Guido
Domaine Clarence Dillon
The PFV Passport represents truly one of the most exclusive experiences in the world of wine. It offers the buyer a single visit to each of the 12 members of the PFV, with a commitment inherent in the passport that a family member themselves will be present to receive the winning bidder (and up to three of their family or friends) to a lunch or dinner at their respective estates. The passport will never expire, and therefore these experiences can be redeemed at any point in future. Whether a private tour of the spectacular Grand Chai (Great Barrel Hall) at Château Mouton Rothschild in Bordeaux, the great Port houses of the Douro Valley, Sassicaia’s sun-kissed Tuscan vineyards, or Pol Roger’s legendary cellars in Champagne; all of the above and more await the winning bidder for this lot.
This case, with its unique Passport, will serve as the inspiration for and collective memory of a visit to each estate and family. The opportunity to meet twelve legendary producers, on your own timetable, is a dream that can come true, and the addition of the Passport alongside Collection Case Number 1 is an extraordinary extra commitment from the PFV. No passport was issued at all during 2020, and the maximum offered in any year is just one or two. With only a handful of the collection cases ever released with an adjoining passport, this lot therefore represents a truly golden opportunity for the winning bidder.
An organization with unique heritage in the world of wine, the 12 member houses of the PFV display a powerful commitment to the continuity of independent family wine producers. The PFV places a strong emphasis on upholding the values inherent to these businesses with respect to their support of charity, social responsibility and the environment. Every year, the association awards an Annual Prize of €100,000 to an exemplary family business in any area of activity that best demonstrates family continuity, quality, heritage, values and sustainability. Alongside this, the PFV host a series of gala dinners and benefit auctions around the world in order raise funds for local charities, present its members’ wines and enable consumers to meet the producers face to face.
The stunning range comprising Lots 2 – 363 comes to us from the cellar of a single British collector, one with a particular focus on Prestige Cuvée Champagne, Bordeaux’s most admired estates including all of the First Growths and impressive verticals of Lafleur, Petrus and Le Pin, and a brilliant showing from Lalou Bize-Leroy’s Domaines d’Auvenay and Leroy. Beyond France’s borders, a number of truly iconic Italian and New World names are represented. All of the wines in this collection have been carefully curated over the preceding 2 decades, and have spent their life under lock-and-key in bond in the UK. They therefore come with perfect provenance and in pristine condition, having been meticulously stored throughout their life. The array of vintages on offer mean that there is truly something for everyone, whether your search is for bottles perfectly at their peak right now, cases to be laid down for decades more, or indeed for impressively complete verticals of First Growths or top Champagne that can be gradually enjoyed as each wine reaches its plenitude.
It is truly rare that we see a Champagne collection as complete as this come to market; the range of vintages, formats and houses on offer is remarkable. Whether your taste is for Salon, Dom Pérignon, Krug, or Louis Roederer’s Cristal, there are myriad bottles of interest here. The selection on offer from these esteemed producers starts in 1989 and runs through to 2012, with a particular focus on Champagne’s great 1990, 1996, 1998, 2002, 2008 and 2012 vintages. Especially exciting in this wonderful collection is the array of vintage Krug that is offered in magnums and double-magnums from the stunning 1996 and 1998 vintages; these are rare beasts indeed and will no doubt be fiercely fought over! 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.
Winemaking occupies a space right on the liminal boundary between Art and Science, and never is that more clear than in the wares 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 all these 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.
Throughout the centuries, Lafite has proved that this is a wine that ages in the most ethereal way. Lafite combines elegance, breed and scent with sustained power, a miracle of balance and nobility. The extraordinary terroir and position in Pauillac have always been matched by the Rothschilds' sense of quality and vision, resulting in a wine that has mythical status. Continuity is vital in producing a great wine and the wine-making brilliance of Charles Chevallier from the 1990s to early 2016 has added extra lustre to this exceptional liquid, with the fame of the property spreading further throughout the world. When serving Lafite, decant it well in advance of drinking as its bouquet and taste amplify to multi-faceted dimensions on contact with the air. At the Château itself, they double decant, back into the original bottle with its unchanging, instantly recognisable label. Lafite matures slowly, developing gloriously with bottle age, as historic tastings have shown. Collect Lafite for yourself and watch it grow!
Mouton, 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 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 wines.
The vast majority of Sotheby's Wine auctions focus on the well known names from Bordeaux and Burgundy where our expertise and experience has helped us find some of the most exciting collections ever seen for sale. But our passion for wine extends way beyond these two stalwarts of the fine wine market and it is exciting to see wines and growers from other regions infiltrating the pack. From salubrious Californian icons, through large format offerings of the great 2015 Brunello vintage from Casanova di Nieri, to the quite brilliant value offered by La Rioja Alta’s Gran Reservas, this selection offers the whole nine yards.