Vinous Treasures | Two Centuries of Europe’s Greatest Bottles | Finest & Rarest Wines
Live Auction: 26 May 2022 • 11:00 AM BST • London

Vinous Treasures | Two Centuries of Europe’s Greatest Bottles | Finest & Rarest Wines 26 May 2022 • 11:00 AM BST • London

S otheby’s Wine London is delighted to present the second sale in our May auction series, the incredible Vinous Treasures | Two Centuries of Europe’s Greatest Bottles | Finest & Rarest Wines. This extraordinary sale is comprised of more than 150 years’ worth of remarkable bottles and large formats, from Europe’s most lauded wine estates. An extremely exciting auction for lovers of fine, rare and ancient wines, it is truly unique to find a collection of such iconic, old vintages with such brilliant provenance. The vast majority of the bottles offered here were sourced directly from the estates themselves, or from their agents, and perfectly stored in some of Europe’s most respected cellars. From 19th Century Classed Growth Bordeaux, to truly impeccable large formats of mature Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, this is an astonishing sale that we are extremely proud to present. Such superb examples of the finest wines from the last two centuries are so rarely seen, particularly in the brilliant condition in which they are offered here. This should truly be a sale for the record books! Vinous Treasures | Two Centuries of Europe’s Greatest Bottles | Finest & Rarest Wines will open for online bidding on Thursday 12th May, culminating in an online-streamed, live auction on Thursday 26th May at 11am BST.


Auction Highlights

Vinous Treasures | Two Centuries of Europe’s Greatest Bottles

The property of a family of oenophiles, the spectacular collection comprising lots 1-109 has been amassed over 50 years by two generations of connoisseurs. All of the wines were purchased carefully either from highly reputed wine merchants, or in many cases directly at the respective domaines or chateaux, and stored impeccably in an esteemed European cellar.

This is a sublime cellar that will excite the most discerning of collectors. The collection spans three centuries, from 1831 to 2000, with a formidable quantity of the greatest names of Bordeaux, Burgundy and the rest of the vinous world. The current owner and his late father were both avid collectors of wines from the late 19th to early-mid 20th century, and this period is particularly well represented here, with glorious trophies of First Growth Bordeaux including rare magnums from Lafite 1887, to Haut-Brion 1947, and the legendary Latour 1961. The collection is further distinguished by a sublime selection of Sauternes with awe-inspiring 19th century rarities such as Yquem 1831 and 1865. To complete this voyage through time, we are also blessed with an incredible selection of Burgundy’s most revered names from the 1940s to 1980s, including extraordinary bottles and magnums from DRC, Leroy, Rousseau, Jayer and many more, with much of the stock still in its original cartons.

The Domaine: Extraordinary Gems from DRC

The extraordinary large formats of DRC comprising lots 140-151 are amongst the best examples of these supremely rare bottles currently in the market. Offered with truly impeccable provenance, they were purchased directly from the agent, and kept in a stunning, custom-built and climate-controlled cellar until their removal for sale at Sotheby’s. Produced in miniscule quantities, larger formats of DRC are so seldom available, especially with such perfect origins; any of these lots would be the jewel in the crown of almost all of the world's great Burgundy collections.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.


Timeless Bordeaux

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. Some of the most legendary Bordeaux of the last century are represented in this incredible sale, in particular in the guise of 1945 Mouton, 1959 Lafite and 1959 Latour, as well as a wonderful array of Haut-Brion, Cheval Blanc and Petrus from the 1980s and 1990s. It is a privilege to be able to present such a treasure trove of mature 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 many of the legends offered here.

Burgundian Icons

Exploring the performance of both white and red Burgundy over the past few years, there is absolutely no doubt that the region is experiencing a moment in the sun that seems to show no signs of abating. The perfect storm of factors, a trifecta of extraordinary quality, limited supply and a broadening collector base worldwide, has resulted in what now seems to be almost insatiable worldwide demand for pristine, aged examples of the glorious and mercurial elixirs that hail from the vines of the Côte d’Or’s most hallowed sites. Whilst the lion’s share of attention still rests upon the most historically lauded producers, the likes of DRC, Rousseau, Jayer and many more all incredibly represented here, 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 climats 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 creators’ 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 Krug, Pol Roger or Salon , there are myriad bottles and rare large formats of interest here. The selection on offer from these esteemed producers starts in 1988 and runs right through to 2013.

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